Interfaith pioneer Rabbi Leon Klenicki

Rabbi Leon Klenicki, a pioneer in interfaith relations, died Jan. 25 at age 78, according to an announcement from the Anti-Defamation League, where he served as director emeritus of interfaith affairs.

A leading figure in efforts to promote Jewish-Christian understanding, Klenicki was made a papal knight by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007 in recognition of his historic contributions to improving relations between Catholics and Jews. He worked for the ADL for 28 years before his retirement in 2001.

Klenicki, a renowned scholar and theologian, wrote numerous books and articles on Catholic-Jewish issues.

A native of Argentina, Klenicki was ordained at Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati. He was a member of an Argentine government commission to investigate Nazi activities in Argentina from 1933 to 1945. — jta