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A Note to the Parliament Community on the Jewish High Holy Days

October 11, 2016

The Parliament of the World’s Religions – committed to cultivating harmony among religious and spiritual communities across the globe – welcomes explanations of important religious observances by particular faith traditions to the other religious communities.
With the celebration of Rosh Hashanah begun, please find an explanatory letter from Chicago leaders attached and recognize that all of humanity is included in the prayers of our Jewish sisters and brothers.
Our warmest and best wishes for a blessed new year.

Dear Friends at the Parliament of World Religions,
It is almost Rosh Hashanna as we the Jewish people once again, as we do year in and year out, coronate the Creator as sovereign of humanity. We believe with a perfect faith that tomorrow, the first day of Rosh HaShanna, the first day of the Hebrew month of Tishrei, the first day of the New Year 5777, corresponds to the sixth day of creation. We celebrate the birthday of Adam and Eve, the father and mother of all humanity. We believe that God, who set them free from punishment and sin on this day, after they ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, has vouchsafed to all humanity the same. This is the Day of Judgment on which God promises Adam and Eve that He will do the same for their children, for all of humanity. Yes my friends, Rosh HaShanna is the least Jewish of all Jewish holidays, unlike Passover, it commemorates no specific event in the history of the Jewish people’s encounter with God. And it is the day when according to our tradition we are obligated to pray for the welfare of all humanity for this is humanity’s birthday. As we grow ever nearer to our common father in Heaven, we pray that the coming year will be blessed with everything good, especially for our friends and for those we know.
As we the Jewish people enter the sanctity of our synagogues worldwide to pray for all humanity, we ask that you to keep in mind the antiSemitism rampant in our world today. A detailed description of which is presented here:

Rabbi Michael Balinsky
Executive Vice President, Chicago Board of Rabbis

Lonnie Nasatir
Regional Director, Anti-Defamation League

Rabbi Yehiel Poupko
Rabbinic Scholar, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago