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Prof. Riccardo di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome 31/08/2017 © L'Osservatore Romano

Prof. Riccardo di Segni, Chief Rabbi of Rome 31/08/2017 © Vatican Media

‘Jewish Autumn Feasts’: Pope Francis Expresses Good Wishes to World’s Jewish Communities

Message to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni

Pope Francis expressed good wishes to the world’s Jewish communities, on the occasion of the “Jewish Autumn Feasts,” Roch Hachana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. “May the Almighty, who loves His people and accompanies those who trust in Him, help us to witness Him in our engagement with our neighbour, and in the promotion of justice and peace,” he wrote.

The Holy Father addressed a message to the Chief Rabbi of Rome, Riccardo Di Segni, on Monday, October 7, 2019, reported “Vatican News” that same day.

“On the occasion of the solemn celebrations of Roch Hachana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, I am happy to express to you as well as the Jewish community of Rome, my most sincere good wishes,” wrote the Pope.

“My thoughts extend also to the Jewish communities in the world, in the hope that these feasts can bring abundant blessings from the Eternal and be a source of profound joy,” he added.

“May the Most High, in His eternal mercy, reinforce everywhere our bonds of friendship and the desire to foster a constant dialogue for the good of all,” continued Pope Francis.

The Holy Father ended with this wish: “Shalom Alechem,” peace to you.

We remind that the dates of the great 2019 “Jewish Autumn Feasts” are: Roch Hachana (Day of the Year): September 29-30 – October 1; Yom Kippur (Great Pardon): October 8-9; Sukkot (Feast of the Huts/Tents): from October 13 to 20; Simhat Torah (Joy of the Torah): October 22.

Roch Hachana means literally “the head of the year,” explains the site chabad.org. It’s the entrance in the year 5780 of the Jewish calendar. September 30, 2019 was the first day of the month of Tichri, first month of the Jewish year. In Judaism, this day corresponds to the anniversary of God’s creation of man. It’s a day of prayer to ask God for a good year.

Yom Kippur is Judaism’s holiest day of the year. It means “the Day of Expiation,” as this verse of the Bible teaches: “Because on this day, he will make expiation for  you to purify you from all your faults, so that you are purified before God.” (Leviticus, 16).

The Jews celebrate the seven days of the feast of Sukkot by dwelling in the Soucca (tent) to commemorate the way that God sheltered their ancestors during the journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.

These days are followed by Sim’hat Torah (Joy of the Torah), when the annual cycle of the reading of the Torah begins again.

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