“A BLESSING TO ONE ANOTHER: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People”

The national touring exhibition of “A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People,” will be in Phoenix from Oct. 26 to Dec. 11, at the historic George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 415 E. Grant St., Phoenix.  The exhibit will be open Tuesdays to Fridays from noon to 5 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The exhibit, viewed by more than a half-million people in 15 prior host cities across the country since its inception in 2005, chronicles the childhood friendship of Karol Wojtyla, later know as Pope John Paul II, and Jerzey Kluger, who became the Pope’s personal emissary to Israel. This friendship between a Catholic boy and his Jewish friend laid the groundwork for the Pope’s historic visit to Israel, which helped mend 2000 years of painful history.

“This is more than a Catholic/Jewish event. It touches every Arizonan,” said Nancy Splain, Blessing Project AZ committee member.  “The exhibit’s inspiring message of openness, respect, civility, dialogue and reconciliation is a timely one as we approach our Centennial and look toward our future together.”

The exhibit is divided into four major areas which cover four different periods in the history, the early days of their childhood friendship, the terrible years of the holocaust, the Pope’s rise from priest to bishop to cardinal and their reunion twenty years after the end of the war, the Pope’s rise to the Papacy and their work together to mend the division between the Catholics and the Jews. Each section of the multi-media exhibit consists of mural-sized photographs, videos, artifacts and historical documents that put visitors in the time and place of each section.

“A Blessing to One Another” is important as a living tribute to a powerful example of how friendships developed across different faiths and traditions can help bring reconciliation and healing to individual communities and the wider world.

The exhibition was created and produced by Xavier University, the Hillel Jewish Student Center and the Shtetl Foundation and is being presented in Arizona by the Blessing Project AZ and the Arizona Ecumenical Council, and hosted by the Carver Museum.  “A Blessing to One Another” has been endorsed by Rabbi Bonnie Sharfman, president, Board of Rabbis of Greater Phoenix, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix and Dr. Lawrence Bell, executive director, the Arizona Jewish Historical Society.

If You Go

Where: George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 415 E. Grant Street, Phoenix. (south of Chase Field ballpark, west off of Seventh Street)

When: Tuesdays through Fridays: noon to 5:00 pm; Saturdays and Sundays: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Cost: $5.00 general admission, free for children 12 and under

Buy tickets: at the venue

For more information, special school/group tour arrangements or to learn how to help, visit www.blessingproject.org, call 602-274-1113 or email info@blessingprojectaz.org.

Two free presentations will be offered to the public at the museum.
Thursday, November 10 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm: a screening of the documentary film, “A Dream in Doubt,” followed by commentary and q and a with Rana Singh Sodhi, whose brother, a Sikh Mesa businessman, was killed in America’s first post 9/11 revenge murder.  Bill Straus, Arizona regional director, Anti-Defamation League, will facilitate the discussion.

Tuesday, November 29: 7:00 – 8:30 pm:  “Law Justice and the Holocaust — Lessons for Today,” a slide presentation by Paul Wieser, a Mandel Fellow of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, followed by a panel discussion by distinguished members of Arizona’s legal community including Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (retired), ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Constitutional Law Professor David Kader and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.  Jerry Landau, director of government affairs for the Arizona Supreme Court, will facilitate a question and answer discussion.

Admission to both special events is free but seating is limited. Make your reservations by email info@blessingprojectaz.org or call 602-274-1113.