Bronze cast of the hand of Pope John Paul II.
Pope John Paul II greets Rabbi Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of Rome, during his visit to the Synagogue of Rome on April 13, Pope John Paul II greets Rabbi Elio Toaff, chief rabbi of Rome, during his visit to the Synagogue of Rome on April 13, 1986, becoming the first pope to join Jews in their synagogue since the first century.
Exhibit title wall. Exhibit title wall.
In the course of his papacy, John Paul II shattered the chain of 2,000 years of painful history between Catholics and Jews.
This exhibit draws its name from the pope’s 1993 appeal marking the 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising: “As Christians and Jews, following the example of the faith of Abraham, we are called to be a blessing to the world. This is the common task awaiting us. It is therefore necessary for us, Christians and Jews, to first be a blessing to one another.”
The exhibit includes photographs, video footage, documents and artifacts recording the extraordinary contributions of Pope John Paul II to relations between the Catholic and Jewish faiths.
Pope John Paul II was the first pope to enter a synagogue, officially visit and recognize the State of Israel and formally express regret for the Catholic Church’s past treatment of Jewish People.
In all, the exhibit includes about 70 artifacts on loan from 10 museums and private collections that help illustrate the pope’s association with the Jewish community from the time of his childhood and how these life-long associations shaped his papacy, the church and Jewish-Catholic relations.
Included among the artifacts is a white Zuccheto, or skull cap, bearing the pope’s initials and worn during his visit to Israel in 2000. Also included is his walking staff used to help him approach the Western Wall in Jerusalem, where he placed a prayer of repentance in the wall.
The exhibit was created and produced by Xavier University of Cincinnati, Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati, and The Shtetl Foundation of New York. The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati served as lead financial sponsor with major underwriting by Xavier University.
The exhibit is underwritten by Alnoor Bandali; Bank of Texas; Afshi Charania; Jeannine and Patrick Flynn; Grocers Supply Co., Inc.; Heimbinder Family Foundation; Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation; H-E-B; Hildebrand Fund; Amin Lakhani; Linbeck Family Charitable Foundation; Mach Industrial Group, Inc.; Marathon Oil Corporation; Moez Mangalji; Mildred Yount Manion Charitable Foundation; Marek Family Foundation; Amin Mawji; Akbar Mohamed; Sadru Momin; Moes Nasser; Fasil Sharrif; Margaret E. and Kenneth T. Snyder, Sr.; Strake Foundation; Farid Virani; Malik Waliany; with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.
The public is invited to a free preview reception from 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2009. Visit www.hmh.org/RegisterEvent.aspx to RSVP online. For more information, call 713-942-8000, ext. 100, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.