Rabbi apologises for popular video of Pope Francis dancing with Hasidic Jews

Rabbi Dovber Pinson has apologised for a widely shared video which saw Pope Francis dancing with an audience of Hasidic Jews at the Vatican.Facebook

A popular video of Pope Francis dancing with a group of Hasidic Jews at the Vatican has drawn criticism from some Orthodox Jews and 'deep regret' from one who took part.

The video of the Pope swaying while an audience of Hasidic Jews jovially serenaded him with music and dancing was shared widely online this week.

The video drew criticism and debate from some Jewish groups however, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Rabbi Dovber Pinson, dean of the Iyyun Yeshiva in Brooklyn, NY, who attended the papal audience, apologised in a letter to students and friends. He said the video was 'unfortunately clouding the important mission I was there to accomplish'.

Pinson added that the festivity began 'spontaneously without my foreknowledge or consent' and he didn't wish to cause embarrassment by cutting it off abruptly.

'It is my deep regret that this video was released at all, (which was accidental) and that the visit was portrayed in such a way,' he wrote.

Commentators on the haredi Orthodox Jewish website Yeshiva World News had raised concerns about the footage. It was suggested that the psalm sung (Psalm 91) could have been seen as adoration directed at the Pope. The psalm proclaims: 'With long life I will satisfy him and I will show him my salvation.'

Others thought the large cross worn by the Pope meant the Jewish audience could be seen as associating with idol worship. For others, the practice of music and singing during the period of mourning preceding the minor festival of Lag b'Omer on Sunday was inappropriate.

During the 45-minute meeting on Monday the Pope discussed issues including the protection of Jewish cemeteries in Europe and the fight against child sex abuse.