Shoshana, Little Sister of Jesus in the Jerusalem kehilla, reports on the death of Rabbi Laras in Milan, Italy.


Rabbi Yosef Laras of Milan passed away on November 16, 2017, and was buried in Israel last Friday.

He was born in 1935 and experienced the dark period of the Nazi regime in Italy. In 1944, at the age of 9, he was tragically separated from his mother who, together with his grandmother, was taken to Auschwitz. Her last look at him, a look filled with pity and sadness, accompanied him throughout his life. But he continued to love life, wrote poetry about creation, believed in humanity, and found its hidden beauty.

In the last will and testament that he wrote before his death, he apologized to the people who were hurt by him and left an important message that "we believe and hope that God brings down to the grave and raises up; He resurrects the dead."

He was a spiritual guide for four generations, president of the Rabbinical Council of Italy and president of the Rabbinical Court in northern Italy. He was also a professor of Jewish thought at the university.

As rabbi of Milan in the 1980s, a new era in his life began in the wake of his close friendship and cooperation with Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, archbishop of Milan. Martini knew how to speak to his heart and through him understood his personal suffering and that of the Jewish people. The Cardinal went on holidays, and on several Sabbaths, to pray discreetly in his synagogue. When the cardinal lay sick in Gallarate near Milan, the rabbi went to visit him, and, after his death, when his body reached the cathedral of Milan he was the first to pay his respects.

The dialogue between the two officials, one, son of the Jewish people and the other, son of the Church, began and developed through difficulties but progressed through human activities and the activities of various organizations dealing with immigrants and prisoners.

Rabbi Laras turned to the Jewish and Christian communities, asking them to listen to the true and eschatological voice of the Bible, in order not to lose out on our inheritance and the future of our children and grandchildren, and said that only Jewish-Christian dialogue could save Europe: "together we dare to believe and act", these being his words.

May his memory be a source of blessing!