( dpa ) - Pope Benedict XVI will make a brief stop at a synagogue during his three-day visit to New York later this month, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Thursday.
The Park East Synagogue is headed by Rabbi Arthur Scheneier, a survivor of the Holocaust who lived under Nazi occupation in Budapest and emigrated to the United States in 1947.
"By this personal and informal visit, which is not part of the official programme, His Holiness wishes to express his good will toward the local Jewish community as they prepare for Passover," said Monsignor David Maloney, the conference's secretary general.
Passover begins at sundown on April 19, a day after the German-born Pope begins his visit to New York, coming from a stop in Washington in his first to the United States.
In both Washington and New York, the pope will meet with representatives from all faiths.
The Park East Synagogue was founded in 1888 and is situated near the United Nations world headquarters, which the Pope is scheduled to visit on Friday April 18. The visit to the synagogue takes place on the same day.
The Pope will also meet with representatives of other Christian denominations at St Joseph Church on the day and say mass at the St Patrick Cathedral on April 19.
On April 20, he will visit Ground Zero, the site of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, and say mass before a packed crowd at Yankee Stadium before leaving for Rome.