Obama's Rosh Hashana message decries anti-Semitism

Obamas Rosh Hashana mes

September 20, 2009 23:11
1 minute read.


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US President Barack Obama asked for support in trying to achieve peace for Israel in the coming year as part of his Rosh Hashana greeting released on Thursday. "Let us work to achieve lasting peace and security for the State of Israel, so that the Jewish state is fully accepted by its neighbors, and its children can live their dreams free from fear," he said in a videotaped message. "That is why my administration is actively pursuing the lasting peace that has eluded Israel and its Arab neighbors for so long." The country's first African-American president, who has been strongly supported by the American Jewish community but whose policies have made many Israelis uneasy during his first months in office, also called for rededication to the renewal symbolized in the holiday and tolerance between groups. "Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others' suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy," he said. "Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take." Obama specifically spoke of the need to "stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world." Obama has spoken out against anti-Semitism several times, including in the Arab world when he spoke in Egypt in June. His Rosh Hashana remarks were translated into seven languages, including Arabic, Persian and Turkish, as well as Hebrew. Obama began his address with "L'shana tova tikatevu," the traditional Hebrew phrase meaning, "may you be inscribed for a good year," and then spoke about the meaning the holiday has for Jews around the world. Obama also referred the difficulties Jews have encountered through the ages as well as their rich spiritual heritage. "Throughout history, the Jewish people have been, in the words of the Prophet Isaiah, 'a light unto the nations.' Through an abiding commitment to faith, family and justice, Jews have overcome extraordinary adversity, holding fast to the hope of a better tomorrow," he said. "In this season of renewal, we celebrate that spirit; we honor a great and ancient faith; and we rededicate ourselves to the work of repairing this world."

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