Two letters - kept at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana one o'clock and dated July 21, 1908 , the other April 10, 1909 - are the first evidence of a friendship established to date unknown, but instead marks an important page in the relations between Judaism and Catholic Church in the twentieth century . Is friendship between Rabbi Elisha Alexander Fano, one of the most important figures of Italian Jewry in the early twentieth century , and Achille Ratti, the future Pope Pius XI.
Intended to last a lifetime , the relationship of respect and friendship between the rabbi from Fano and Monsignor Achille Ratti ( then Prefect of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana and professor at the local seminary ) began in the dialectic between student and teacher. From Fano was in fact the teacher of the Hebrew language in Rats . And even outside of class hours , Rats of the Ambrosiana loved to spend time on the premises or in the premises of the rabbinate with the rabbi from Fano to discuss major religious and cultural issues . The estimate was very deep : the future pope was the first seminary professor to lead their students to be taught in the synagogue rabbi of Milan.
The special bond between the two continued even after his election to the papacy in Rats . In a visit to Mussolini took place on February 11, 1932 the same Pope Pius XI to inform the leader : " I ​​was also a pupil of Rabbi Milan Fano, when I wanted to penetrate certain " nuances " of the Hebrew language ." Once in Rome , Pius XI received in the Vatican several times his old teacher and friend. Giotti from Fano , the grandson of a rabbi, who remembers hearing of 1935 ( thus before the promulgation of racial laws ) , when Fano required to meet the Pope for his help in order to avoid anti-Jewish measures , Pius XI spoke to 'about this: " Until you sit in the Chair of Peter will not happen anything Italian Jews ." Words that are confirmed in the famous critical dialogue that Pius XI turned to Mussolini after the launch of the racial laws in 1938 : "Spiritually we are all Semites ." Unfortunately, however, Pius XI can not keep his word because he died February 10, 1939 .
Giotti Fano also recalls how at the end of what was the last meeting between Pope Pius XI and his grandfather came to pass an act that is unbelievable : after embracing moved between them, before the rabbi from Fano laid his hands on the head Pope's blessing him with the priestly blessing , the Pope then laid his hands on the head rabbi's blessing from Fano . A dual historic gesture , unthinkable before the Council and Nostra Aetate . Gesture that would be repeated after only two eminent personalities from world-class in the Christian world and the Jewish world : Carlo Maria Martini and Rabbi Giuseppe Laras .http://www.osservatoreromano.va/portal/dt?JSPTabContainer.setSelected=JSPTabContainer%2FDetail&last=false=&path=/news/cultura/2013/283q13-L-amicizia-tra-il-rabbino-Alessandro-Elish-.html&title=A%20lezione%20di%20ebraico&locale=it