Bishop of Leeds, the Rt Revd Nick Baines and the Bishops of our five Episcopal Areas have sent a New Year's message of friendship to Jewish communities in our diocese as they ready for Rosh Hashanah this weekend.
The marking of their religious New Year begins at sunset on Friday, September 18 and ends at nightfall on Sunday, September 20.
The traditional eating of treats such as apples dipped in honey is hoped to prompt a sweet and happy year ahead.
The Bishops' letter is printed in full below:
To Jewish friends, colleagues and communities on the occasion of Rosh Hashanah 2020.
We send warm greetings and prayers as you celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
Such prayers are deeply felt. The challenges facing Jewish communities, in the UK and elsewhere, continue. We know that antisemitism continues to grow frighteningly across the world and here in the UK. We were thinking of you as you celebrated Pesach in lockdown, and we are conscious of the devastating impact of the virus on so many families and businesses. We grieve with you at the continuing struggle for peace in the Holy Land, and we are aware of the pressures that are felt on our communities in the UK as a result.
Looking back, we were so glad to have been able to bring a delegation of faith leaders and young people from across the Diocese to visit the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, based at the University of Huddersfield, in February this year, just before the lockdown. Those present heard from Rudi Leavor, Chair of Bradford Reform Synagogue, about his family’s experiences in the Holocaust, and the day featured discussion on how we can learn lessons from the Holocaust by standing together against rising division and hate.
In March this year ordinands from across our Diocese participated in training led by a team from the national offices of the CCJ, alongside Rabbi Jason Kleiman from Leeds, attending sessions on ‘Preaching the Old Testament Responsibly’, ‘Parish Ministry in an Age of Antisemitism’, and ‘Studying the Hebrew Scriptures’. We are delighted that this training will now be held annually, and will be open to both ordinands and ordained clergy.
These initiatives come out of strong ongoing relationships which we do not take for granted, and for which we thank the Almighty.
We wish you a very happy new year, and every blessing as you continue the pilgrimage through the High Holy Days towards the Day of Atonement.
Bishop Nick Baines
Bishop Jonathan Gibbs
Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley
Bishop Toby Howarth
Bishop Tony Robinson
Bishop Paul Slater