By Samantha Lin
On 6 April, The Lay Centre welcomed students and professors from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who were on a week-long tour of Rome. Our guests came from a diversity of academic backgrounds, but most were studying either Italian culture and history, or geography.
Their approach in touring Rome combines multiple academic disciplines and therefore suited their varied experiences: some members of the group were young and intent on learning and practicing Italian, while others decided to return to study after long careers in a variety of professions.
Lay Centre students joined our visitors during lunch and discussed life in both Jerusalem and Rome. They shared their experience of living at The Lay Centre, an intentional community with a charism for hospitality and interreligious dialogue.
At the end of lunch, Israel’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Oren David, addressed the group in both English and Hebrew. He described the history and role of the embassy. He said Israel and the Holy See collaborate on humanitarian projects, such as building water infrastructure in various African countries, as well as cultural exchange programs designed to share Jewish culture and art in Rome.
Rome’s Jewish community is one of the oldest in the world. Ambassador David spoke enthusiastically about the upcoming Israeli art exhibit that will have two parts: one part will be shown at the Vatican; the other will be exhibited at the Jewish museum in Rome’s Jewish Ghetto.