(JNS.org) American Jews will be able to be involved with the historic visit of Pope Francis to the U.S. this week despite its coinciding with Yom Kippur on Wednesday.
Pope Francis will visit the White House and meet with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, the same day as Yom Kippur, before addressing a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday.
Addressing the Yom Kippur issue, Melissa Rogers—executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships—said, "The Holy Father has a very complicated schedule for this trip, so we worked with that schedule as best we could,” the Associated Press reported.
Jews will still be able to participate in other parts of the pope’s visit to Washington, DC, New York City, and Philadelphia, according to Deputy National Security Adviser for the President Ben Rhodes, who said the pontiff's schedule was determined based on his need to attend a conference in Philadelphia and the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.
The Vatican “was very accommodating, and we were very focused on ensuring that the American Jewish community would be able to participate in important interfaith efforts to be a part of this visit of the pope," Rhodes said.