... The new pontiff “is no stranger to us,” World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder, who met with Bergoglio in Buenos Aires in 2008, said in a statement. “He always had an open ear for our concerns ...
“The Latin American Jewish Congress has had a close relationship with Monsignor Jorge Bergoglio for many years,” said Claudio Epelman, executive director of the congress ...
As archbishop of Buenos Aires, his relationship with Argentinian Jews was personal as well as institutional.
His only book, “Regarding Heaven and Earth,” is the transcript of wide-ranging conversations between himself and Rabbi Abraham Skorka, the rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary. Francis and the rabbi also shared billing on an Argentinian TV talk show on religious issues.
Francis has referred to Skorka as his “brother and friend.” The then-cardinal attended services at Skorka’s synagogue and also arranged for Skorka to receive an honorary doctorate from the Catholic University of Argentina.
Francis also wrote the foreword to a book by another Buenos Aires rabbi and civic activist, Sergio Bergman.
“Bergoglio is a master,” Bergman wrote in the Argentinian media after Francis’ election. “True to my Jewish roots and rabbinical vocation, inside my home community and the entire Argentine society, I found in Francis a teacher who heard me, guided me and advised me on how to deploy my vocation to serve both the Creator and his creatures in defiance of common good.”
Last December, Bergoglio joined Bergman and other Jewish leaders and representatives of other faiths in lighting the Hanukkah candles ...
“The closeness between Francis and the Jewish community is special and precious,” Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor, vice president of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, told JTA.
Bretton-Granatoor, who is based in New York but has met Francis a couple of times, called the new pope “a mensch” who “gets the importance of a relationship with the Jewish community, who understands the meaning of the Shoah and has a heart in the right place on a number of issues that concern us as well.” ("Pope Francis Makes Good First Impression on Jews," Forward, March 19, 2013)
Read more: http://forward.com/articles/173180/pope-francis-makes-good-first-impression-on-jews/?p=all#ixzz2NwnoLoaj