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Dr. Lawrence Schiffman Leads Delegation to Vatican City

Dr. Lawrence Schiffman, Yeshiva University’s vice provost for undergraduate education, recently led a delegation from the International Jewish Committee on Interreligious Consultations (IJCIC), as part of a wider Jewish delegation, to meet with newly-elected Pope Francis in Vatican City.

IJCIC is a coalition of Jewish organizations including the American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League, B’nai B’rith International, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Israel Jewish Council of Interreligious Relations, Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbinical Council of America, Union for Reform Judaism, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and the World Jewish Congress. It was created to represent world Jewry in its relations with other world religions.

“We have seen important and positive developments in the Church’s attitude to the Jewish people and the State of Israel,” said Schiffman, who serves as chair of IJCIC. ”We need to continue to build on this important relationship. Those in the Vatican have done a tremendous amount in recent years to help us in the fight against anti-Semitism and this is one way we can show our gratitude.”

Along with the other members of the delegation, Schiffman was present at a special reception for religious leaders from all different faiths on March 20 following the pope’s induction ceremony the day before. The IJCIC and other Jewish representatives were singled out for special welcome by Francis in his remarks. Those in attendance at the event also had the opportunity to meet with the pope individually. When it was Schiffman’s turn, he wished him a hearty “mazal tov,” drawing a laugh from Francis.