Rabbi David Sandmel and Marvin Nathan are two leaders of the Anti-Defamation League, an organization that has been fighting injustice for over a century. In their encounter with Pope Francis, they felt a common bond with the Pope, who shares many of their concerns.
RABBI DAVID SANDMEL
"Any meeting with Pope Francis is inspiring. He has such as warm personality and he just generates the concern in the care that he speaks about. You feel it when you are in the room with him. He was very strong on the condemnation of antisemitism, he spoke about the close relationship between the Jewish people and the Catholic Church, he shared our concerns about issues such as refugees and immigration, and he talked about how important for us is to continue to work together.”
"He is genuine, authentic, he displays a sense of course and peace, yet at the same time he was very plainspoken to us. He showed a regard for the discrimination that exists throughout the world, not only against Jews, but Christians and other minorities, and so in that context we have a mutual fight."
The Anti-Defamation League works not only to combat attacks against Jews, but also to ensure fair treatment for all people.
"We know that we can't be just for ourselves, we have to be for others. It's that mutual regards that will ultimately lead to the type of tolerance that ADL and the Church both hope to achieve."
The relations between Catholics and Jews are growing stronger thanks to important gestures from both communities. Among them are the visit of Pope Francis to the Synagogue of Rome, and his friendship with Rabbi Abraham Skorka, showing the interest in securing this common bond. Rabbi Sandmel is looking forward to the next steps to continue in strengthening this good relationship.
RABBI DAVID SANDMEL
"While the Church as an institution has been very clear about antisemitism, the Church is a very large institution, and getting that concern into the daily life of the Church in places all over the world is still something that needs work. We would like to see, we hope that the final agreement between Israel and the Holy See will be finalized, and we are anxious to see the archives, the Vatican archives, especially from the time of Pope Pius XII opened up.”
In fact, they also held a meeting with the Vatican's foreign minister Archbishop Paul Gallagher, who assured them that they will soon have news regarding the opening of the archives.
The rabbi insists that these ongoing questions do not in any way weaken relations which have improved over the years, especially with documents such as "Nostra Aetate” issued 50 years ago and marking a leap forward in promoting friendship between Catholics and Jews.