Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Public Thoughts To be Read At The Rosh Hashanah Table

Rosh Hashanah 2014— Year 5775 of proud Jewish history  

By Talia Carner
            The New Year has always been a time of reflection about life within the broader context of one's relationship with others and one’s relationship with God. For atheists, the latter is an examination the moral values by which each of us lives. This is the time of spiritual reconnection with Jewish traditions and of remembering those who, over generations of persecution, were killed for the single sin of their faith.
            The tradition of eating sweet foods carries with it the optimism of a sweet new year. It is a new beginning, a sweet chance to start over.
            All across the globe, Jews share these moments—and the hope carried in them. This sharing of rituals ties us all together and remind us that no Jew is ever alone.
            Yet, as a community, we are often alone. Friends of the Jews come and go, their loyalty never taken for granted. This year, Rosh Hashanah falls in the midst of rise of anti-Semitism sweeping the through Europe, Africa and Asia, and has landed right in our midst at the Manhattan's UN building. The centrality of Jewish identity—the Jews’ right for self-definition and sovereignty in their own land—has been challenged not only by ignoramus, but by intellectuals in leading universities, mainstream media and civic organizations claiming to be unbiased and inclusive.
            Rosh Hashanah now stands to remind us that hate can come knocking on our door first with words, followed by denying our identity, then erasing the lessons of our history, and continues with biased resolutions and economic boycotts. Before long, it is with , and guns, bombs, and showers of thousands of rockets that no empty promises of “never again” are able to stop.         
            Let the fresh start of Rosh Hashanah therefore remind us how much pride we take in Jewish extraordinary achievements in science and medicine, unsurprisingly reflected in Israel’s miraculous contributions to technology, agriculture and science.

            Israel makes us walk tall. Without her, Jews would have been like the Gypsies and Kurds of the world. Yet, she is now in mortal danger of a war orchestrated by enemies delighted to sacrifice the lives of millions of their people to see the Jews disappear from the Middle East.
            As we move into the New Year, let us bless all the good things the world has given us while we send our prayers for those who have already been taking the first bullet for us--and this year, 67 beautiful souls of Israeli soldiers did just that. Their friends will continue to do so to preserve a home for all Jews persecuted in their countries. And as we do so, let us search within ourselves whether we have done all we could for Israel and its people who need us now more than ever.
            Several years ago, then-Israel’s president Shimon Peres said that even Ben-Gurion had not dreamed big enough. Let us dream big tonight—stretch our dreams to encompass all the vast possibilities of hope, and let us dream tonight of a world of peace.
            Let’s bless all the good things God has given us so far, and celebrate our resilience and our heritage of strong Jewish values that we have shared with the world over for centuries. And let's allow that dream bring joy to our hearts and to our Rosh Hashanah table.
Author, speaker and activist Talia Carner lives in New York. Her next novel, Hotel Moscow (HarperCollins, summer 2015) deals with anti-Semitism and Jewish identity.   www.TaliaCarner.com.       

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