And - I have been thinking about my earlier post criticising the Israeli CR's for not attending the funeral in Rome. I may have been wrong.
On reflection, the attendees are Heads of State, not necessarily religious leaders, and the protocol probably didn't generate any expectation that they would attend. I do notice that the archbishop of Canterbury, as the head of the Anglican communion, will be there. I still believe very strongly that they probably should go, and that there are certainly ways of dealing with any halakhic problems that they may have. (BTW, I am not going to argue with commenters onthe earlier posting who discount this Pope's feelings towards Jews - he was a giant in that regard, and only very shortsighted Jews can fail to recognise or understand that. )
SO - what was it that upset me about the announcement? I think it was the excuse given about preparing for Pesach (and, in fairness, again, it is not clear that the CR's office actually said that). But if they did, it was a hugely inelegant, unfitting and unstatesmanlike 'excuse' - in other words, fairly typical of the problems of contemporary Orthodox leadership.
What could they have said - well, something like; "[words of positive appreciation of the Pope]. The Chief rabbis are proud that the State of Israel and the jewish people will be represented by the president of the State of Israel and a distinguished delegation, who travel with our blessing to pay last respects to this very distinguished religious leader." That would have been a lot better.
But if I was unfairly critical - I apologise.
- Windsor and the Chief Rabbinate: The historic town of Windsor, west of London and visible from aircraft as they land at Heathrow, is home to 900-year old Windsor Castle. Windsor is the Sovereign's next residence after Buckingham Palace, and is also the home of the Royal Chapel where many Kings and Queens of England are buried. During WWII, many Londoners were evacuated to Windsor to escapr the bombing on London. At that time it housed a small Jewish community. Among the wartime evacuees, and for a time the official rabbi of Windsor, was Dayan Julius Jakobovits z'l, the father of the late UK Chief Rabbi Lord Immanuel Jakobovits z'l. Dayan Jakobovits had been a Dayan on the Berlin Bet Din, and arrived in the UK as a refugee.