Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio opens an exhibit entitled "A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People" May 19.

The lead financial sponsor of “A Blessing to One Another” is The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati, with major support from Xavier University of Cincinnati and in partnership with the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C. The exhibit is being created and produced by the Xavier University, the Hillel Jewish Student Center of Cincinnati, and The Shtetl Foundation of New York.

The idea for the exhibition developed while Dr. Yaffa Eliach, a Holocaust survivor, was a visiting professor at Xavier University. Eliach, who is a co-director of the exhibit and president and founder of The Shtetl Foundation, had become fascinated with the pope’s ties to the Jewish community.

Dr. James Buchanan, director of Xavier’s Edward B. Brueggeman Center for Dialogue, believes that what is being celebrated is much more than just an exhibit. “Our hope is that it will be an experience that has a spiritual dimension to it as well as stimulating people to begin to think more deeply about and engage more actively in interreligious dialogue.”

Rabbi Abie Ingber, the executive director the Hillel Jewish Student Center in Cincinnati and one of the exhibit’s co-directors, lost his grandparents and two uncles in the Holocaust. He sees the exhibition as near miraculous. “We literally have gone from my grandparents’ understanding of what the church represented in their lives to their grandson meeting with the pope and celebrating the building of an exhibit that recognizes and honors this incredible, unique and changed relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish community. That is [nothing] less than a miracle, and I place the positive responsibility for that sea change in the peaceful hands and blessings of John Paul II.”

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