A major new exhibit on Pope John Paul II and his relationship with the Jewish people is set to open on the Pope’s 85th birthday.
"A Blessing to One another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People" will run from May 18 to July 15 at the Jesuit-run Xavier University in Cincinnati.
The exhibit is the result of successful collaboration between the Catholic and Jewish communities. The university, the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati and Holocaust survivor Yaffa Eliach, founder of the Shtetl Foundation in New York, created the concept for the exhibit.
They met with the Pope in October and received his support. Both the university and the Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati have financially sponsored the exhibit
The exhibit will be in Cincinnati for two months. Then it will go to the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. It will then tour a number of Catholic and Jewish universities in the United States before traveling to Europe. The exhibit will be permanently displayed in Israel.
Pope John Paul II has written extensively about the relationship between Catholics and Jews and, in 2000, he was the first Pope in 36 years to visit Jerusalem.
Jerzy Kluger, a Jew and lifelong friend of the Pope, has loaned his childhood prayer book to the exhibit. There will be artifacts from Jewish businesses of the 1920s and 1930s in the Pope's hometown of Wadowice, Poland.
The Pope’s transcripts from elementary school to college, a robe he wore for an interreligious prayer service in Assisi, Italy, and a biretta he received when he was elevated to cardinal in 1967 will also be in the exhibit.