Elio Toaff, rabbi who hosted first pope visit to synagogue, dies at 99

April 20, 2015 9:33 AM

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Elio Toaff, rabbi who hosted first pope visit to synagogue, dies at 99

ROME (Reuters) - Elio Toaff, the chief rabbi of Rome for half a century and a pivotal player in Christian-Jewish reconciliation, has died at the age of 99.

Toaff, who a spokesman said died on Sunday night, was Rome's chief rabbi in 1986 when then-Pope John Paul II made the first visit by a Roman Catholic pontiff to a synagogue in nearly 2,000 years.

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