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Brazilian Jews Ask Pope for Vatican Support of United Jerusalem

July 7, 1980
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A 12-member delegation representing Brazil’s Jewish community met with Pope John Paul II at the Santo America Catholic College in Sao Paulo Thursday night at the Pontiff’s request. They delivered a memorandum asking for a Vatican pronouncement in favor of an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and presented the Pope with a silver menorah as a gift on the occasion of his visit to Brazil.

The memorandum also called on the Vatican to support secure and recognized borders for Israel and to pronounce against the persecution of Jews in the Soviet Union and in Arab countries. The Pope, in the course of a 400-word statement, fold the delegation, “it is a very happy occasion for me to manifest and tighten the bands uniting the Catholic Church with Judaism, thus reaffirming the importance of the relations developing between us also in Brazil.” He called on Jews and Christians “to increase the value of our common heritage in solving the problems afflicting present day society.”

The delegation was headed by Isaac Schifnagel, vice president of the Brazilian Jewish Confederation. It included one rabbi, Fritz Pinkus, chairman of the Committee for Jewish-Christian Fratemity in Sao Paulo. Others included the chairmen of the Brazilian B’nai B’rith and of the local Jewish federations in Rio de Janeiro, Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Bahia, Belem and Recife.

The menorah presented to the Pope as a “symbol of life and light,” was crafted by the noted Brazilian-Jewish sculptor Livio Levy.

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