Tonight at sundown, Jewish communities in the United States and around the world will celebrate Rosh Hashanah – the Day of Judgment, the anniversary of the creation of the world, and the start of a Jewish new year.
Throughout the High Holidays – commencing with Rosh Hashanah, continuing through the 10 Days of Repentance, and concluding on Yom Kippur – the stirring sound of the shofar calls us to examine our character and conduct. Heartfelt prayers invite us to repair our relationship with each other, with ourselves, and with God. And the tashlich ritual, that symbolizes casting away our sins, inspires us to learn from our mistakes and commit to doing better in the future.
During this spiritual time of reflection and atonement, we are also uplifted by the hope a new year brings. As Jewish families gather around the table, and apples are joyfully dipped in honey, we are reminded that it is never too late to change and begin anew. Our actions have the power to shift the balance of our fate, our nation, and our world.
I’ve always believed that the message of Rosh Hashanah is universal. As Americans, the power lies within each of us to make our country more free and fair, to transform the story of our time, and to heal the soul of our nation.
Throughout the High Holidays and in the year ahead, let us summon the courage to reflect on who we are and extend compassion, love, and kindness to all. Let us celebrate and protect generations of Jewish Americans whose values, culture, and contributions have shaped our character as a nation, and enriched every part of American life. And let us remember the common values that bind us together as fellow Americans.
Jill and I extend our warmest wishes to all those celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the United States, Israel, and around the world.
May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.
May it be a happy, healthy, and sweet New Year.
Shana Tovah U’Metukah.