Jewish Group Presents Candelabra to Catholic Cardinal in Interfaith Gesture

December 2, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: International Herald Tribune

Wire Service: AP

A Jewish group on Sunday presented a candelabra symbolizing Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust to a Catholic cardinal, a way of underlining positive changes in Jewish-Catholic relations in recent decades.

The candelabra has six branches, in memory of the 6 million Jews killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during World War II.

Rabbi Jack Bemporad, of the Center for Interreligious Understanding, the New Jersey-based organization that facilitated the gift, presented the menorah to Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, head of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, a Catholic study center in Jerusalem. The purpose was "to offer a loving embrace to the Jewish people," Bemporad said,

The bronze menorah features six men, women and children wearing Jewish prayer shawls and standing on a broken star of David.

"The candle is a tragic symbol, because it consumes itself by giving light," Bemporad said.