Leaders of prominent N.Y. synagogue praise U.N. Palestine vote

NEW YORK (JTA) — The leaders of the prominent New York City synagogue B’nai Jeshurun sent an email to congregants praising the U.N. vote that elevated the Palestinians to non-member state status.

"The vote at the U.N. yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world," said the email, signed by B’nai Jeshurun’s three rabbis, cantor, executive director and board president. "This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this."

The email was sent Nov. 30, the day after the U.N. General Assembly vote. The New York Times, which first reported the email on Tuesday, said it elicited "shock" from some members and was welcomed by others.

B’nai Jeshurun, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, is a large synagogue known for its liberal politics and lively, music-infused services. It is not formally affiliated with any religious movement.

The email expressed hope that the U.N. vote would advance prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

"As Jews deeply committed to the security and democracy of Israel, and in light of the violence this past month in Gaza and Israel, we hope that November 29, 2012 will mark the moment that brought about a needed sense of dignity and purpose to the Palestinian people, led to a cessation of violence and hastened the two state solution," the signatories wrote.

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