Full Text JBuzz Transcripts September 24, 2014: Canada’s PM Stephen Harper’s Statement on Rosh Hashanah

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STATEMENT BY THE PRIME MINISTER OF CANADA ON ROSH HASHANAH

Source: PM.gc.ca, 9-24-14

Ottawa, Ontario

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement to mark Rosh Hashanah:

“This evening marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, which is the start of the Jewish New Year.

“Rosh Hashanah is an important time of celebration and personal reflection for people of the Jewish faith, during which families and friends gather together to count blessings, take stock of the present and look forward with hope to the year ahead.

“It is my sincere hope that Jews in Canada and around the world enjoy peace and prosperity in the coming year, especially those in Israel who endured conflict over the past few months.

“On this hopeful and joyous occasion, I would also like to pay tribute to the Jewish community in Canada for the immense contributions they continue to make to our society in all areas of endeavour.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Laureen and I wish everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah health, happiness, harmony and prosperity.

“L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu.”

– See more at: http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2014/09/24/statement-prime-minister-canada-rosh-hashanah#sthash.FCAv50DV.dpuf

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Full Text JBuzz Transcripts September 23, 2014: UK PM David Cameron’s message for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 2014

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Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 2014: David Cameron’s message

Source: Gov.uk, 9-23-14

The Prime Minister has recorded a message to mark Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

The full message is as follows:

I want to send my best wishes to everyone in Britain and around the world marking Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

These High Holy Days give us a chance to look back – and to look forward. To look back at the immense contribution Jews make in Britain: excelling in every field, contributing in every community, and living by those values – of decency, tolerance, hard work and responsibility – that are so central to the Jewish faith and to British life.

And they give us a chance to look forward to a future free from conflict and prejudice. That means lasting peace in the Middle East – a future where families don’t live in fear of rocket attacks. And it means wiping out prejudice in this country, because we will not tolerate anti-Semitism in Britain. No disagreements on politics or policy can ever justify racism or extremism in any form. As long as I’m Prime Minister, we will do everything we can to tackle this, and to ensure we learn the lessons of the past, as the Holocaust Commission, led by Mick Davis, is doing so effectively.

Around the world, Britain stands for diversity and cohesiveness. When mosques came under attack, who helped defend them? British Jews. When a synagogue was under threat from closure, who helped save it? British Muslims. This says a lot about who we are in this country – and it’s something we can celebrate and build upon.

So as we look back and look ahead, let me wish everyone a happy New Year. G’mar Tov and Shanah Tovah.

חדשות

ראש הממשלה הבריטי בברכה לראש השנה

אני שולח את ברכותי לאלה המציינים את ראש השנה ויום כיפור, בבריטניה וברחבי העולם.

״הימים הקדושים הללו הם הזדמנות להסתכל על העבר, ולהביט קדימה. להסתכל לאחור על התרומה האדירה של היהודים בבריטניה: מצטיינים בכל תחום, תורמים בכל קהילה, וחיים על פי ערכי הגינות, סובלנות, עבודה קשה, ואחריות – ערכים כה מרכזיים באמונה היהודית ובחיים הבריטיים.

״הם גם מעניקים לנו הזדמנות להביט קדימה לעתיד חופשי מסכסוך ומדעה קדומה. כלומר שלום יציב במזרח התיכון – עתיד בו משפחות יחיו ללא איום של ירי רקטות. ומיגור דעות קדומות במדינה שלנו, מכיוון שלא נתיר אנטישמיות בבריטניה. חוסר הסכמה בנושאי פוליטיקה או מדיניות לעולם לא יצדיק גזענות וקיצוניות בשום צורה.

כל עוד אני ראש ממשלה, נעשה כל שביכולתנו להתמודד עם זה, ולהבטיח שלקחי העבר יילמדו, כפי שעושה ביעילות כה רבה, הוועדה לנושאי שואה בראשותו של מיק דיוויס.

“ברחבי העולם, בריטניה מייצגת גיוון ואחדות. כשמסגדים עמדו תחת מתקפה, מי הגן עליהם? היהודים בבריטניה. כשבית כנסת ניצב תחת איום סגירה, מי עזר להצילו? המוסלמים בבריטניה. זה מעיד על האופי של המדינה שלנו – וזה משהו שאנחנו יכולים לחגוג ולצמוח ממנו.

אז בעוד אנחנו מסתכלים אחורה ומביטים קדימה, אני רוצה לאחל לכולם שנה טובה וגמר חתימה טובה.”

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World — Transcript

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Rosh Hashana Greeting to Jewish Communities Around the World

Source: PMO, 9-23-14
יום שלישי כ”ח אלול תשע”ד

“My friends,
As Jews celebrate the New Year around the world, we can take pride in all that unites us. The Jewish people indeed always unite when faced with great challenges, and the past year was no exception.
Over the past few months, three of our teenagers were kidnapped and brutally murdered, thousands of rockets were fired at our country and too many of our bravest young men and their families made the most painful of sacrifices in Operation Protective Edge.
Throughout all that, we witnessed tremendous support for Israel from Jewish communities everywhere. And at the same time, we in Israel know that it has been a difficult period for many of your Jewish communities. You face increasingly virulent and…

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Full Text JBuzz Transcripts September 23, 2014: President Barack Obama Wishes The American Jewish Community a Sweet, Happy, and Healthy New Year

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Wishing You a Sweet, Happy, and Healthy New Year

Shanah Tovah from the White House! On Wednesday evening, Jews in the United States and around the world will begin celebrating Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

The High Holidays offer the Jewish community a moment of pause, a time to reflect on the previous year and recommit to the unending task of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Together, working with people of all faiths, we can bring greater peace and prosperity to the world in 5775.

In his 2014 video message for the High Holidays, President Obama extends his wishes for a sweet new year and discusses why this time of year is so significant.

Watch on YouTube

Read the remarks:

Hello. As Jews across America, Israel, and the world gather together for the High Holidays, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to you and your families for a sweet and happy new year.

My good friend Elie Wiesel once said that God gave human beings a secret, and that secret was not how to begin but how to begin again. These days of awe are a chance to celebrate that gift, to give thanks for the secret, the miracle of renewal.

In synagogues and homes over the coming days, Jews will reflect on a year that carried its shares of challenges. We’ve been reminded many times that our world still needs repair. So here at home we continue the hard work of rebuilding our economy and restoring our American dream of opportunity for all. Around the world, we continue to stand for the dignity of every human being, and against the scourge of anti-Semitism, and we reaffirm the friendships and bonds that keep us strong, including our unshakeable alliance with the State of Israel.

So let’s approach this new year with new confidence and new hope. Let’s recommit ourselves to living out the values we share as individuals and as a country. Above all, let’s embrace this God-given miracle of renewal, this extraordinary opportunity to begin again in pursuit of justice, prosperity, and peace. From my family to yours, shanah tovah.

Full Text Israel Political Brief September 23, 2014: President Reuven Rivlin’s Rosh Hashanah message — Transcript

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Rosh Hashanah message from the President of Israel

Source: MFA, 9-23-14

MFASummaryNew

Message from the President of the State of Israel to the Jewish Communities of the Diaspora on the occasion of the New Year – Rosh Hashanah 5775

Brothers and sisters,
Leaders of the Jewish communities of the Diaspora and their friends,
According to Jewish tradition, Rosh Hashanah represents a time of personal, community and national soul-searching. In the shadow of the events of the past months, this year, here in Israel, these days of reflection are reaffirmed and take on a special meaning.
With the kidnapping and murder of the four teenagers: Naftali, Gilad, Eyal and Muhammad; and the ongoing campaign in southern Israel in the background, the citizens of Israel and their leaders were faced with difficult dilemmas: the responsibility to defend our homes and land, alongside the concern of harming innocent people; the commitment to enable a free democratic dialogue, versus the need to set clear limits to restrain manifestations of inflammatory behavior and incitement. Israel had to respond to the threats of terror organizations from the outside, while maintaining its image and values as a Jewish and democratic state that is committed to international law and is dedicated to providing all its citizens with equality and dignity, Arabs and Jews alike.
The resilience of Israel is not based on its military strength, but emanates from the liberal, democratic and Jewish values on which it was founded. Even at a time when Israel is required to mobilize its military front, it cannot ignore its home front and the surge of violent political manifestations of incitement and hate in its streets. Israel’s leadership and Israel’s society are judged not only by their military resiliency, but also by their civil resiliency, not only in normal times, but also in times of crisis.
In the course of Operation Protective Edge, I felt that Israel was not alone in the arena. Leaders of the free world and many of the members of the various Jewish movements and communities stood shoulder to shoulder with Israel, supporting its duty to defend its citizens and identifying with its efforts to restore peace to Israel’s southern communities.
On the threshold of the New Year, I want to thank you, leaders and members of the Jewish communities, for your support of Israel’s soldiers and its home front, and especially its southern communities. It is with much anticipation that I hope we shall continue to stand together in the face of the challenges awaiting the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora in the future, generated by a sense of mutual responsibility and partnership.
Dear Friends,
The coming year is marked by Jewish tradition as a shmita year, a sabbatical year for land and man. The observance of shmita serves to slow down the economic race and utilitarianism, and see in others, a human being. I pray that this year the gates of our hearts will open to let in compassion, generosity and mutual responsibility. May the coming year bring the sound of joy, a symphony of miscellaneous Jewish voices that will unite us all as a family, community and people.
כתיבה וחתימה טובה!
Shana Tova Ve’Metuka,
Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin

JBuzz Features September 22, 2014: Rosh HaShanah Guide for the Perplexed, 2014 (5775)

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Rosh HaShanah Guide for the Perplexed, 2014 (5775)

Source: The Jewish Press, 9-22-14

Rosh Hashanah is a universal, stock-taking, renewal and hopeful holiday, celebrated on the 6th day of The Creation, which produced the first human being, Adam….READ MORE

JBuzz Features September 19, 2014: Great Quotes on the Meaning of Rosh Hashanah

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Great Quotes on the Meaning of Rosh Hashanah

Source: Algemeiner, 9-19-14

Sundown on Wednesday, September 24, marks Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and millions of Jews around the world will congregate for the beginning of the High Holy Days….READ MORE

JBuzz Features September 1, 2014: ABC’s of Elul

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ABC’s of Elul

Source: The Jewish Press, 9-1-14

Elul – the month preceding Rosh Hashanah – begins a period of intensive introspection, of clarifying life’s goals, and of coming closer to God….READ MORE

JBuzz News August 30, 2013: A Prayer of Atonement

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A Prayer of Atonement

Source: Huffington Post, 8-30-13

As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement, Jewish congregations around the world confess their communal transgressions….READ MORE

Tevi Troy: The White House’s Advice for Your Rabbi

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President presses: Preach politics from the pulpit

Source: WSJ, 9-23-11

The Jewish High Holidays are upon us, so naturally it’s time for the White House to feed political talking points to rabbis.

As has become its annual practice, the Obama administration on Thursday convened a conference call with several hundred rabbis and Jewish leaders. According to a participant on the call, President Obama promoted his jobs bill—noting that those who have been more blessed should pay their fair share—and briefed the rabbis on U.S. efforts to counter the push for a declaration of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations.

I was on another such call recently, the purpose of which—according to the Jewish rabbinical group that invited me—was to help listeners “understand the current state of the economy; learn about the impact of the proposed budget cuts on the poor and disenfranchised; consider the consequences of the increasing gap between the rich and poor in America; and, glean homiletic and textual background to help prepare their High Holiday sermons on this timely topic.”

The agenda of the call organizers was clear. Two speakers, one of whom was a (non-Jewish) Democratic senator, spoke of our country’s need for “raising revenue,” the new code phrase for tax increases. When I suggested that we separate politics from spirituality, a third participant pushed back, saying “the Torah is a political document.” A curious assertion in a crowd that would quickly denounce any invocation of the Bible in political discussions.

Of course the Obama administration didn’t invent the politicized sermon. In the Conservative temple in which I was raised, the joke (not an original one) was that the rabbi would take homiletic guidance from the New York Times editorial page. In his memoir, former Nixon speechwriter William Safire told of his displeasure with a Yom Kippur sermon in which the rabbi warned “not to let our country be divided and polarized by those who use the technique of alliteration”—referring to Vice President Spiro Agnew’s critique of “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

Related Video

Tevi Troy on political sermonizing in synagogues.

So President Obama is taking advantage of an existing proclivity toward political sermonizing. Other presidents have acted similarly, hosting calls around holidays or meeting with Jewish leaders before the White House Hanukkah party, as George W. Bush did. But Mr. Obama has innovated, as by focusing on a specific issue or two with rabbis before the High Holidays each year.

In 2010, according to the New York Post, he “asked a conference call of about 600 rabbis to preach his Mideast peace plan from the pulpit.” In 2009, he invited a group of 1,000 rabbis to discuss his health-care plan and then preach about it afterward. Some certainly delivered. Rabbi Amy Schwartzman of Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Va., for example, gave a Yom Kippur sermon that year entitled “The Jewish Understanding of Health Care: A Moral Imperative,” declaring that “working towards health care for all, however that might be accomplished, is a Jewish mandate.”

Political sermonizing is a mistake for many reasons. First, the Holy Days are supposed to bring forth a universal message about the unity of the Jewish people, the importance of our shared religious tradition, and the need to rededicate ourselves to observance of the Torah in the year to come.

Then there’s the risk of alienating part of the congregation. Even if you know that 70%-80% of your synagogue votes one way—and public opinion polls suggest that this may be the case in Conservative and Reform synagogues—why risk alienating the other 20%-30%? In many (or most) communities, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the only time certain congregants set foot in synagogue that year. Why risk driving them away with a message that could offend?

Furthermore, while it may appear easy to find support for left-wing political positions in the Torah and rabbinical sources, the truth is that the Jewish tradition doesn’t give much guidance on the optimum level of marginal tax rates, Medicare restructuring, or food-stamp funding. To claim otherwise is to give false guidance.

The passages read aloud on the High Holidays each year are filled with the most important problems of the human condition, including Jonah’s attempt to shirk his responsibilities, Hannah’s desperate plea for a child, and God’s testing of Abraham’s faith with the binding of Isaac. All of these stories still resonate today, and skillful speakers can use them to guide congregants.

The mandate of religious leaders is to convey to their communities spiritual encouragement and the wisdom of the ages. For the other stuff, there’s cable news.

Mr. Troy, a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and former deputy secretary of health and human services, was a White House Jewish liaison under George W. Bush.