By COLlive reporter
Six of of fifteen members of the Chief Rabbinate of Israel will be shunning an official reception for Pope Benedict XVI on his first visit to the Jewish state, COLlive has learned.
Scheduled for Monday, May 16, his meeting with the Israeli Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar will take place in Heichal Shlomo hall in Jerusalem.
Members of the Rabbinate were asked to join. This is essential for a constructive relationship between the Jewish and Christian world, they were told.
One of the them who will be avoiding the Pope, and was not afraid of being identified, is Rabbi Shimon Elituv, a Sephardic Lubavitch Chasid who serves as the Chief Rabbi of Mateh Binyamin Regional Council.
“The place of a Jew on Lag B’Omer is in Meron,” Elituv said about the traditional commemoration of the passing of Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai who lived in the era of the Tannaim during the Roman period, after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE.
A place of a Jew on this day “is definitely not in meetings with the pope,” he said. “But even so, there are many things that needed to be clarified before the meeting.”
Elituv stressed that his criticism is not directed to the Chief Rabbis’ meeting with the Pope, “which is obligatory.”
But, he says, his absence won’t cause a diplomatic tumult. The opposite, so long as the Vatican does not allow access to all the Jewish books and holy scriptures that were robbed from the Jewish communities, we must demand he return them.”
In other news, the Jerusalem police department notified the Lubavitch Youth Organization (Tzach) that they will be able to proceed, as usual, with the Lag B’Omer parade, despite the Pope’s visit.