Pope at installation gives shout-out to Jews


Pope Francis gave a shout-out to Jews during the open-air Mass that formally installed him as pontiff.

Francis began his homily Tuesday by greeting the Catholic dignitaries and faithful in the huge crowd that crammed St. Peter’s Square and the surrounding area. He thanked “representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence.”

Among the crowd were Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni; Riccardo Pacifici, the president of the Rome Jewish community; and more than a dozen other Jewish representatives.

It is said to be the first time that Rome’s chief rabbi has attended a papal inauguration.

Francis’s predecessor, Benedict XVI, had invited Di Segni to his inauguration on April 24, 2005, but Di Segni did not attend because it was the first day of Passover.

Benedict also singled out Jews in his welcoming remarks, greeting “with great affection …  you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God's irrevocable promises.”

Boston Jewish leaders slam Mass. treasurer


Boston Jewish leaders were among the religious leaders who slammed the Massachusetts state treasurer for criticizing Gov. Deval Patrick’s attendance at a forum at a local mosque.

The religious leaders—including representatives of several synagogues, the Archdiocese of Boston, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the Massachusetts Council of Churches and some of Boston’s most prominent black churches—gathered May 28 on the steps of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center to criticize Treasurer Timothy Cahill for saying that the meeting was “playing politics with terrorism,” the Boston Globe reported.

Cahill is running as an independent candidate for governor against Patrick, a Democrat.

Patrick’s campaign told the newspaper that Cahill was engaging in “fear mongering” when he rapped Patrick for holding a forum for the Muslim community. The forum touched on such issues as discrimination and racial profiling, and encouraged businesses to allow Muslims time off to attend Friday prayers.

Rabbi Eric Gurvis of Temple Shalom in Newton praised members of the mosque, who assisted the synagogue when it was vandalized with a swastika earlier this year.  He called Cahill’s statement against the governor an “act of hatred and bigotry.”

Ex-AIPAC chief kicks off Mass. treasurer campaign


A former AIPAC president and board chairman kicked off his campaign for a Massachusetts state office.

Steve Grossman, national chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1997 to 1999, and a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton, launched his campaign Wednesday for state treasurer and receiver-general with a news conference at a Boston hotel.

Grossman served as president of AIPAC from 1992 to 1996; he became chairman of the board in 1997.

He also was board chairman of Brandeis University in suburban Boston and the former campaign chair of Boston’s Combined Jewish Philanthropies.