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Vatican, Rome's Jews to Hold Unprecedented Joint Art Exhibit

  • Ken Schwartz

Vatican Museums Director Barbara Jatta, left, and Head of Rome's Jewish Museum Alessandra Di Castro shown during a news conference where they presented an exhibition on the menorah, the ancient symbol of Judaism, at the Jewish Museum in Rome, Feb. 20, 2017.

The Vatican and Rome's Jewish Museum have announced an unprecedented event — a joint exhibit focusing on the menorah, the candelabra that is the ancient symbol of Judaism.

The exhibit will open May 15 and run through July 23, and will be simultaneously held in St. Peter's Square and in the museum in Rome's main synagogue.

The displays will include pieces of artwork and other exhibits from around the world, centering on the importance of the menorah in both Jewish and Christian history and culture.

Officials say the highlight will be tracing the fate of the solid-gold menorah taken by the emperor Titus when Roman soldiers destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D.

Although paintings show the emperor carrying the menorah, it is still unknown exactly what happened to it, and there are numerous accounts of its fate.

But many historians believe it was stolen when the Vandals raided and sacked Rome in 455.

A newly found stone from the Galilee synagogue dating to the first century A.D. will be another highlight of the exhibit.

Ties between the Roman Catholic Church and world Judaism have improved immensely since 1965 when the Vatican repudiated Jewish guilt for the death of Christ.

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