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Israel Asks the United Nations to Recognize Yom Kippur

May 22, 2014

Ron Prosor at the UN

Ron Prosor, Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

“I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day.  You shall do no work at all.  This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live.  It is a day of Sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves.”  (Leviticus 23:30–32)

Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor has launched an official campaign asking the United Nations to approve the Jewish observance of the solemn Day of Atonement.   (JP)

“Yom Kippur is the most sacred day in the Jewish calendar.  In the days leading up to Yom Kippur, Jews throughout the world seek forgiveness and reconciliation.  Jews fast, abstain from work, and spend the day in prayer and contemplation,” Prosor wrote in his letter.

“It is about time Jewish employees at the UN won’t be obligated to work on Yom Kippur,” he continued.

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur by Maurycy Gottlieb

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur, by Maurycy Gottlieb.

If Prosor’s bid is successful, Yom Kippur will be the first Jewish holiday recognized by the UN.

The UN already recognizes 10 other holidays at its New York headquarters, including Christmas and Good Friday, as well as two Muslim holidays—the Breaking of the Fast at the end of Ramadan and the Feast of the Sacrifice, which imitates the Abraham-Isaac story—down to the ram God provided in exchange for Isaac’s life—but replaces Isaac with Ishmael.

Although two monotheistic religions are recognized at the UN, the holidays of the original monotheistic religion, Judaism, are not recognized.  Prosor called it discrimination.

“On the one hand, the United Nations advances values of cooperation and engagement among nations, and on the other hand it is prioritizing one religion over the other,” Prosor said.  (Times of Israel)

Prosor has asked the other United Nations ambassadors to support his campaign to recognize Yom Kippur at the UN by signing his letter.   (JP)

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