B'nai B'rith International has taken a proactive approach advocating the United Nations to recognize Yom Kippur, the holiest of Jewish days, as an official holiday.
There are currently six American holidays, two Christian and two Muslim holidays, but none for Judaism.
In addition to full-time representation as a non-governmental entity at the United Nations, B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin was published in The New York Times, explaining the importance of respect and inclusiveness in recognizing Yom Kippur.
He further expands on his sentiments in an article published on JNS.org. Read the highlights from it, below:
But when the current state of global anti-Semitism and the U.N.’s treatment of Israel over time are taken into account, it’s unclear whether or not the Jewish holiday’s new status will be approved by the U.N. membership. In that context, the decision on Yom Kippur will “be a very good test of the intentions of each member country of the U.N. in terms of how [that member] sees inclusiveness, how it sees Jews in the United Nations,” according to Mariaschin.
“[Yom Kippur is] observed in Israel, but it’s also observed by Jews all over the world,” he said. “If a country were to vote against this proposal on the basis of this being a Jewish holiday, or because Jews are connected to the state of Israel, I think it would speak additional volumes about the U.N. and how it treats Israel and the international Jewish community.”
At the same time, recognizing Yom Kippur should not be seen as a cure for anti-Israel bias, which is “a serious inherent problem in the U.N. system,” Mariaschin cautioned.
“While we want Yom Kippur to be on the [U.N.] calendar… we would not want to see that as compensation for dealing, as is often done, so harshly with Israel,” he said. “It shouldn't be seen as one or the other.”
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