On Monday, representatives of UN Missions from around the world gathered in the Rose Garden of the United Nations headquarters in New York City to celebrate the minhag of Tashlich for the first time ever on UN grounds.
The Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN, in partnership with the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, organized the event.
While the event marked an important chance to share a bit of Jewish custom with the international community, according to Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, having the event in such an important international space and at the beginning of the General Assembly signified an opportunity for the entire international community — not just Israel — to use the time to reflect and cast of the sins past.
“The Jewish New Year coinciding with a new year at the UN, is a chance for this institution to leave behind last year’s conflicts, cast off the wrongdoings of the past, and start the 70th session of the General Assembly with a clean slate,” Prosor said.
During the event, which was held near the East River in accordance to tradition that it be near flowing water, Senior Rabbi Arthur Schneier of New York City’s Park East Synagogue led the international participants in through the penitential ceremony.
Afterwards, leaders from the American Jewish community and Israel and other invited guests had an opportunity to mingle with mission representatives from around the world.
According to Ambassador Prosor, the chance to share the High Holiday custom of Tashlich is an important step to have the UN recognize Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar, as a full holiday.
Last year, the UN recognized the importance of Yom Kippur for the Jewish community and Israel, but has not yet named it a full holiday alongside Christmas and Eid al-Fitr.
“This week, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiest day of the year” Prosor said, saying having the ceremony and UN recognition is a good first step. “I ’m glad that after 70 years, the UN, which recognizes Christian and Muslim holidays, finally recognizes the importance of Yom Kippur as well.”