Pope Francis I, Argentine rabbi make history by spending Sukkot together

(JNS.org) Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka made history when he spent several days in the Vatican living together with Pope Francis I over the Sukkot holiday.

Pope Francis I. Credit: Casa Rosada via Wikimedia Commons.

“I eat with him at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. He cares for me, and controls everything regarding my food to makes sure it is all kosher, and according to my religious tradition,” Skorka told the Italian daily La Stampa, which covers Vatican affairs.

“These are festive days, and I have to say certain prayers at meals and, I expand the last prayer and translate it. He accompanies me together with the others at table—his secretaries and a bishop, and they all say ‘Amen’ at the end,” Skorka said.

According to Skorka, who is rector of the Latin American Rabbinic Seminary, his friendship with Pope Francis began in 1997 when Francis, known at the time as Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became Coadjutor Archbishop of Buenos Aires. Skorka said that while their close friendship might be shocking to some, he believes that “history is made more by action than by political reasoning.”

“We hold to different traditions, but we are creating a dialogue that has not existed for centuries. Both of us believe that God has something to do with our friendship and with what we are doing,” he said.

Skorka also revealed that he is planning to travel to Israel with Pope Francis next year.

“I dream of embracing him at the Kotel, or Wailing Wall, and I will accompany him to Bethlehem, in the Palestinian territories. His presence can help a lot at this moment when the peace talks are starting again,” Skorka said. 

Posted on October 3, 2013 .