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Rome Reports

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Concert in Rome's synagogue commemorates relations between Vatican and Israel

Israel's embassy to the Holy See held a concert on Jewish Sacred Music in Rome's Synagogue. It was to celebrate 25 years of diplomatic relations with the Vatican and the state of Israel. 

It was attended by representatives such as the Vatican's Secretary of State, Card. Pietro Parolin as well as Israel's ambassador Oren David and Chief Rabbi of Rome's Jewish community, Riccardo Di Segni.

Nathan Lam, President of Cantors Assembly Foundation, was invited to prepare and perform at the concert.

President, Cantors Assembly Foundation
“The role of the cantor in the synagogue is the messenger of the people for prayer. The cantor delivers the prayers, we chant them. The position of cantor in Jewish history is about 2400 years old. So it predates the rabbis. We are ordained.”

President, Cantors Assembly Foundation
“When we sing we are trying to make the listener understand the inner and deeper meaning of the text; and we share a lot of texts with Christianity. So tonight is special because we are doing psalms and some other texts that are common.”

It was St. John Paul II who first visited this Jewish Synagogue in Rome, being the first pope since St. Peter to enter into one. Since then Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have also visited. 

According to Nathan Lam this fraternal expression from the Catholic Church is very important for the Jewish community worldwide. 

President, Cantors Assembly Foundation
“Anytime there is a desire to show kindness and to have a dialogue between great religions then that is a very good thing. The Jewish people who have lived here in Rome for 2,200 years, it is a great thing that the pope extended his hand and that the community here welcomed him. We outside of Italy and Rome, in the United States for us it is an important thing to see development of dialogue.”

The music helped to commemorate these 25 years of relations. Although agreements on certain issues between the two states are still not complete, such as the economical status of the Catholic Church in Israel, there is lot of common ground to be found.