Jewish Community Set to Welcome Pope Francis

StandWithUsAdforPope'sVisit-9-14-10-11-15. 001-Pope Francis will arrive in Philadelphia on Saturday, September 26. The previous day, at 3:00 p.m., Jewish and Catholic Philadelphians will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate, Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to non-christian religions, in which antisemitism was condemned, at Saint Joseph’s University. Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a close friend of Pope Francis, will be the featured speaker.

StandWithUs will welcome the Pope with seven billboards highlighting the shared Judeo-Christian values of the Jewish and Catholic communities. These posters will have images depicting the historic meeting between the Pope and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu during the Pope’s visit to Jerusalem in 2014. They will be displayed until October 11, in high-traffic areas and various locations where the Pope is scheduled to speak.

“The photos chosen for the posters capture the respect and affection between the Pope and the Prime Minister, and remind viewers of the values we share including freedom and the protection of religious and human rights,” said Joseph Puder, director of StandWithUs/Philadelphia. 
Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East, is the only place where Christians can safely practice their faith.
“Israel recognizes 15 distinct religious groups and allows each to practice as they wish,” added Ferne Hassan, the associate director of StandWithUs/Philadelphia.
The Christian population in Israel increased from 34,000 in 1948 to 163,000 in 2014.  Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown in the last half century.