By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
“I am pleased to extend my sincere best wishes to you and to the Jewish Community of Rome”, Pope Francis said in a letter addressed to Rome’s Chief Rabbi, Riccardo Shemuel Di Segni.
The occasion for the Pope’s greeting is three-fold: Rosh Hashanah celebrated from September 9-11, Yom Kippur celebrated on September 18 and 19, and Sukkot which begins on September 23 and ends on September 30.
The Pope writes that he hopes that these festivities might revive “the memory of the benefits received from the Most High. He also extended his thought to all “the Jewish communities in the world” that they might find in these feasts “the source of further graces and spiritual consolation”.
“May the Most High bless us,” the Pope continued, “with the gift of peace, inspiring us toward greater diligence to promote it untiringly”.
Pope Francis’ final thought expresses his prayer that the Lord’s “infinite goodness, might strengthen our bonds of friendship everywhere as well as the desire to foster a constant dialogue for the good of all”.
He signed off with “Shalom Alechem"—the classic Hebrew greeting meaning “Peace be upon you”.