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United Nations Recognizes Yom Kippur as an Official U.N. Holiday
December 23, 2015
New York, NY
United Nations Recognizes Yom Kippur as an Official U.N. Holiday Rabbi Arthur Schneier, President and Founder of the Appeal of Conscience Foundation and Senior Rabbi at Park East Synagogue is pleased that the United Nations has recognized the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, as an official holiday.

“Adding Yom Kippur to the United Nations calendar conveys an important message to Jews in over 120 countries worldwide that they are welcome among the family of nations,” said Rabbi Arthur Schneier. By adding Yom Kippur, Judaism’s most sacred day, the United Nations now embraces the holy days of all Abrahamic faith communities."

No official meetings will take place on Yom Kippur and Jewish employees of the United Nations will now be able to observe the holy day without forfeiting a day of vacation.

Yom Kippur now joins the Christian holidays of Christmas and Good Friday and the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha in the list of 11 official UN holidays. No official meetings will take place on the Jewish High Holiday, and Jewish UN employees can observe the holy day without forfeiting a day of vacation. The six other official UN holidays are major US holidays: New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

Rabbi Arthur Schneier worked closely with former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor to bring the issue to the forefront. Rabbi Schneier and the Appeal of Conscience Foundation garnered the interfaith support for the initiative and in November of 2014 convened a panel composed of Jewish, Catholic, Protestant and Muslim religious leaders and diplomats from the Permanent Missions of the United States, Canada, Uruguay and Israel to the United Nations to discuss the universal ideas of forgiveness, reconciliation and introspection ,values at the heart of Yom Kippur and called upon the United Nations to recognize the holiest day of the Jewish year as an official United Nations Holiday.

During the last year more than thirty ambassadors signed letters calling on the United Nations to recognize Yom Kippur, including the United States, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, South Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Uruguay and Vanuatu.

Rabbi Schneier complimented the efforts of Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon and United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, for helping achieve the passage of the resolution that will reflect the respect of the international community for men and women of all faiths.
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