Adela Smeke
Activist, Educator, Writer, Jewish Diplomat and Soccer Player.

The World Jewish Congress at the Vatican

In November, the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress held an historical meeting in the Vatican City in which we presented the Kishreinu declaration.

To understand the context and importance of this meeting, it is necessary to go back to 1965 when the Vatican approved the declaration called “Nostra Aetate” which aims to promote and strengthen the relationships with non-Christian religions. From that moment,  the relations between Jews and Christians around the world started a new chapter.

However, there wasn’t any answer from the Jewish world to that statement until November 2022. The World Jewish Congress met in Vatican City to present the declaration “Kishreinu” (in English Our Bond) as an answer to Nostra Aetate which also proposes the rapprochement of Jews and Christians.

Besides that, the World Jewish Congress stated that it intends to establish a commission with the Vatican to work on interfaith issues.

This is the first time that the Vatican welcomed a Jewish delegation with the intention of promoting interfaith dialogue to receive a statement like the one we presented.

The statement was presented at the Vatican by Ambassador Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress and Claudio Epelman the WJC Commissioner for Interfaith Dialogue, where Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Commission for Religious Relations with Jews, was present.

Later we had the opportunity to have an audience with His Holiness Pope Francis in which he spoke in favor of this meeting and welcomed the declaration presented.Without any doubt, this meeting is very significant and it proposes a common path for both religions in favor of a better future.

When I had the opportunity to speak with Pope Francis, I thanked him for such a warm reception to promote rapprochement between the two religions, because today’s world presents enormous challenges and as faith-based institutions we must come together in order to face them.

The World Jewish Congress is the organization that represents more than 100 Jewish communities around the world working on issues of Jewish diplomacy such as interfaith dialogue, among other issues.

I feel proud to be part of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps and the Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress as well as to have had the opportunity to participate in this meeting that will undoubtedly be a historical benchmark in relations between both religions.

The future is built every day by our actions. Peace requires commitment and coordinated effort from all of us.

About the Author
Adela is an educator based in Mexico City. Mother of 3 and member of the Jewish Diplomatic Corps of the World Jewish Congress. Adela also is an active member of the Jewish Community in Mexico serving as a board member of different institutions in the Community.
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