Letter to the Editor,
My Dear Friends in the Jewish Communities of Atlanta: Peace and all good things!
The arrival of High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur afford me the opportunity to send my personal best wishes and prayerful greetings, and those of our entire Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Atlanta, to the American Jewish Committee, to your rabbis and synagogue congregations, and to all members of the Jewish communities residing here in the Atlanta area.
These are days of prayer, reflection, and new beginnings. May everyone in the local Jewish community experience good health, wisdom, and true peace in the year ahead.
I want to express my sincere gratitude to the Jewish community in Atlanta for your welcome and kindness to me since my Installation as the Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta in May 2020. In the last three years, I have been blessed in so many ways by our friendship. We have prayed together. We have been in conversation with one another. And we have shared fellowship on many occasions, especially during High Holy Days. Please know of my respect and affection for the Jewish community.
In reading the Anti-Defamation League’s 2022 Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, I was deeply saddened to learn that there was a 120 percent increase in the number of antisemitic incidents in the Southeast from the previous year. The report states: “Georgia, specifically, experienced a 63 percent growth in incidents from 2021 to 2022, and its numbers nearly quadrupled since 2020.”
This past year, we witnessed several acts of violence in the metro Atlanta area. I make the words of Pope Francis my own: “Let us unite in condemning all violence and every form of antisemitism, and in working to ensure that G-d’s image, present in the humanity he created, will never be profaned.”
May our mutual dialogue, respect and friendship grow ever stronger as we work together to promote peace and justice. May the Almighty bless and enlighten our communities and our cooperation, so that together we can be fruitful in carrying out his plans in our world. And may the Almighty hear our prayers for a new year filled with health and the blessings of peace and atonement.
Shanah Tovah, a good year to all!
United in Prayer,
Most Rev. Gregory J. Hartmayer, OFM Conv., Archbishop of Atlanta