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

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Pope John Paul II chats with emeritus Rabbi of Rome Elio Toaff as Abdulawahab Hussein Gomaa, Iman of Rome Mosque, looks on behind them at the end of the Concert of Reconciliation in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican Jan. 17, 2004. Photo by REUTERS/Max Rossi.

Pope John Paul II chats with emeritus Rabbi of Rome Elio Toaff as Abdulawahab Hussein Gomaa, Iman of Rome Mosque, looks on behind them at the end of the Concert of Reconciliation in Paul VI Hall at the Vatican Jan. 17, 2004. Photo by REUTERS/Max Rossi.

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ROME (Reuters) Elio Toaff 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.