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Pope Francis sends Hanukkah greetings to international head of Progressive Jewry

Argentine Rabbi Sergio Bergman receives handwritten Spanish-language holiday note from countryman

Pope Francis (far right) lights candles at a 2012 Hanukkah Interfaith Celebration at a Buenos Aires synagogue with current World Union of Progressive Judaism head Rabbi Sergio Bergman. (courtesy)
Pope Francis (far right) lights candles at a 2012 Hanukkah Interfaith Celebration at a Buenos Aires synagogue with current World Union of Progressive Judaism head Rabbi Sergio Bergman. (courtesy)

Ahead of Hanukkah, Pope Francis sent a handwritten Hanukkah greeting to fellow Argentine religious leader, Rabbi Sergio Bergman. Bergman is the new president of the World Union of Progressive Judaism, which is a coalition of 1,200 Liberal Jewish congregations in 50 countries with 1.8 million members.

In the Spanish message, the pope blesses the Jewish community with “an existence illuminated by the Lord,” and asks the rabbi to pray for him “so that I always have the grace to walk in the light and not get lost in the darkness.”

The pope is the leader of the world’s two billion Roman Catholics. He and Bergman last celebrated Hanukkah together in 2012 at an interfaith celebration in Buenos Aires when the pope lit the hanukkiya (Hanukkah menorah).

The letter will be read as part of WUPJ’s 2020 star-studded Hanukkah Gala on December 13. The following is an English translation provided by WUPJ.

Hand-written letter from Pope Francis to Rabbi Sergio Bergman ahead of Hanukkah, December 2020. (courtesy)

Rabbi Sergio Bergman
Dear brother,
Thanks for your mail.
As you invite me to do it, I send a greeting to those who participate in the virtual
meeting to celebrate Hanukkah. I remember when in 2012 I lit the candle in the temple
on Arcos Street.
Light, the first gift of the Lord in Creation!
I wish all of you an existence illuminated by the Lord, with the light that unites paths,
teaches the true profiles of things, draws towards the horizon…
May the Lord bless each of you, your families, your communities.
And, please, I ask you to pray for me so that I always have the grace to walk in the light and not get lost in the darkness. For my part I pray for you.
May the Lord bless you, fraternally.
Franciscus.

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