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September 22, 2015 1:55 pm

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Makes Surprise Appearance at East River Tashlich Ceremony

avatar by Eliezer Sherman

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: World Economic Forum.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Dozens of U.N. officials, local community leaders and dignitaries from over 10 different countries came together on Monday night at New York’s East River for the first-ever official U.N. tashlich ceremony.

The event, organized by the Israeli mission at the U.N. along with the Forum for Cultural Diplomacy, was part of Israel’s ongoing campaign to get Yom Kippur to become a designated U.N. holiday — it is not yet.

Israel’s outgoing U.N. ambassador, Ron Prosor, briefly addressed the audience gathered in the picturesque U.N. Rose Garden before Park East Synagogue Rabbi Arthur Schneier delivered a sermon on the significance of the ceremony, reciting “Min HaMeitzar Karati Yah,” which in English means, “in my distress I call upon the Lord.”

The octogenarian Holocaust survivor offered a message of peace, explaining the Yom Kippur custom of turning to one’s neighbors for forgiveness. “Only when we make peace with our neighbors will God answer our prayers,” he said, just as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made a surprise, albeit slightly tardy, entrance to take his seat.

Afterward, the dignitaries including Ban walked down to the rail over the East River and tossed pieces of challah bread into the murky waters below, as daylight left.

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