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September 9 2012 17:00 | Skenderjia, Main Hall

Opening speech of Jacob Finci



Jews greet each other by saying “SHALOM”, whose translation is peace – the same meaning of the word SALAM, while the expression “Peace and good will” does not even need to be translated.
Living in peace is paramount for everyone, although for us who went through such a violent war, peace has an even more evident meaning.

Indeed, we should be even more aware of the true meaning of tolerance, of reciprocal respect, and of the respect for the neighbours. Sure, the neighbours, with their very own right to be different from us, do not deserve a lower respect, we must rather love and respect them in their diversity.

The today’s world is at a cross road. One direction can lead to the common destruction. This can happen because we are all in the same boat, those who make holes in the boat should be aware that shipwreck affects all, where they do not have any chance to save themselves on their own.
Not faith, nor the vision of the world, nevertheless the colour of the skin make any difference to athomic radiations, an earthquake or a tsunami. They destroy everyone.

The other direction is the understanding, the path of respecting who is different – on this path we can find all our Sacred Books. There is no Sacred Book prompting the destruction of the other, of those who are different, even if they do not agree about the only God. If we were all made in the image of God, and we were made different to contribute to the good, then the message is clear.

We live in this beautiful portion of the world, called Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are given the opportunity to live here in peace, to respect each other, to pray and strive together to turn the world in a better place. Today, Bosnia and Herzegovina is a poor country, which hides many riches. I invite you all to work together to put these riches into our reality and the property of all the citizens of this beautiful, although suffering, Land.

By working together for the good of all and each one individually, we are here to confirm the words of Assisi, what else can I say other than “Peace and goodwill”, “salam”, “shalom”.

Message of His Holiness Benedict XVI
Benedict XVI

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Sarajevo 2012