A Jewish representative met with Pope Benedict XVI at a Catholic conference in Brazil. Claudio Epelman, assistant director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, was one of eight non-Catholic observers invited to the Fifth Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate General Conference, or CELAM, which opened Sunday in Aparecida, Brazil. “Thanks for sharing this working environment, deepening the mutual knowledge that could bring us to move forward for peace construction,” Epelman told the pope at the gathering’s opening ceremony. Epelman told JTA that the brief exchange underscored the commitment the pope shares to Jewish-Catholic dialogue. CELAM General Secretariat Monsignor Andres Stanovik also stressed the importance of Jewish-Catholic teamwork. Brazilian President Luis Inacio da Silva attended the ceremony, as well as observers from the Greek Orthodox, Anglican, Evangelical, Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian and Baptist churches.