President Obama's statement on Rosh Hashanah
A staple complaint of online critics of President Obama is that he acknowledges Muslim holidays but not Jewish or Christian days of observance. Here is the president's statement today on Rosh Hashanah, as provided by the White House:
As Jews in America and around the world celebrate the first of the High Holy Days I want to extend my warmest wishes for the New Year. L’shana Tova Tikatevu – may you be inscribed and sealed in the Book of Life.
Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the spiritual calendar and the birth of the world. It serves as a reminder of the special relationship between God and his children, now and always. And it calls us to look within ourselves – to repent for our sins; recommit ourselves to prayer; and remember the blessings that come from helping those in need.
Today, those lessons ring as true as they did thousands of years ago. And as we begin this New Year, it is more important than ever to believe in the power of humility and compassion to deepen our faith and repair our world.
At a time when too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads, it is up to us to do what we can to help those less fortunate.
At a time when prejudice and oppression still exist in the shadows of our society, it is up to us to stand as a beacon of freedom and tolerance and embrace the diversity that has always made us stronger as a people.
(UPDATE: Our blogging buddy Don Surber way back East near Ohio has a most interesting comparison of the Rosh Hashanah messages released by the president and some former governor of Alaska. Read his take here.)
And at a time when Israelis and Palestinians have returned to direct dialogue, it is up to us to encourage and support those who are willing to move beyond their differences and work towards security and peace in the Holy Land. Progress will not come easy, it will not come quick. But today we had an opportunity to move forward, toward the goal we share—two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security.
The scripture teaches us that there is “a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” In this season of repentance and renewal, let us commit ourselves to a more hopeful future.
Michelle and I wish all who celebrate Rosh Hashanah a sweet year full of health and prosperity. ####