Benedict XVI wishes a happy birthday to Elio Toaff.

Source: FSSPX News

On Sunday, May 8,the Jewish community of the Italian capital celebrated the 90th birthday of the Chief Rabbi emeritus of Rome, Elio Toaff. Cardinals Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians and Relations with Judaism, Camillo Ruini, president of the Italian Bishops Conference, and Roger Etchegaray, vice-dean of the College of Cardinals, were present together with Mgr. Stanislaw Dziwisz, who was the private secretary of John Paul II.

On this occasion, Pope Benedict XVI addressed his wishes to Rabbi Toaff in a letter handed to him by Cardinal Walter Kasper. Making public its contents, the Chief Rabbi did not conceal “his great pleasure” at this very much “appreciated” gesture. “It means that this new pope is following in the footsteps of the teaching of John Paul II,” he said on Radio Vatican on May 10.

In his letter, Benedict XVI thanked the Chief Rabbi “for the good relations you have built up with the Holy See, particularly with my late lamented predecessor, Pope John Paul II.” “Your birthday is the occasion to renew this commitment to continuing dialogue, looking to the future with confidence.” This greeting echoed the pope’s message, two days after his election, to the current Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni. Rabbi Toaff had welcomed John Paul II to the synagogue of Rome on April 13, 1986, the first visit by a pope to a Jewish temple, a visit to which Benedict XVI referred in his letter “with joy.”

We also learn that on the occasion of the World Youth Day in Germany, the pope is planning to visit the synagogue in Cologne. So he informed Oded Ben Hur, Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, during the reception of the Diplomatic Corps on May 11.