It’s Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be celebrated this year until nightfall on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Rosh Hashanah, one of four new years in the Jewish calendar occurs 10 days before Yom Kippur, the “day of atonement.” In his annual message marking Rosh Hashanah, President Obama calls for reflection and reconciliation at a time when “public discourse can too often seem harsh” and “society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us.”
“I hope that Americans of all faiths take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate, be tolerant of our neighbors,” Obama said. “As a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering.”
Watch Larry Gellman, well-respected financial advisor and leader in the Jewish community, on some of the biggest concerns among the American Jewish community heading into the presidential election. Plus, how being Jewish and politically active is more complicated than ever:
“There’s a lot of noise out there about Jews who have real concerns about President Obama and his treatment of and feelings toward Israel,” Gellman said. “But I don’t think that really reflects what’s going on in the Jewish community. It’s harder to generalize, probably, about the Jewish community than it ever has been in the past.”
Jewish organizations and lobbying groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and J Street have evolved in recent years; J Street more promotes the voices of American Jews on Jewish matters, as well as support Israel, whereas AIPAC is more of a “booster club” to promote the positions of the Israeli government in the U.S., Gellman says.
In the Jewish oral tradition, Rosh Hashanah marks the completion of the creation of the world. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Yamim Nora’im, which means “the Days of Awe in Hebrew”; or, in English, they are often referred to as the High Holy Days.
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