Obama, Cameron greet Jews on Rosh Hashana

NEW YORK/LONDON – US President Barack Obama released a recorded message to the Jewish community, wishing it a happy new year as it prepares to ring in Rosh Hashana – a Jewish new year.

“Jewish tradition teaches us that, for the next 10 days, the Book of Life is open,” he said. “As millions of Jews ask God to inscribe their name in that book, we recognise how much lies beyond our control. Yet during these Days of Awe we also recognise our tremendous power to make a difference, in our lives and in our world,” he said.

“As human beings we’re not required to be perfect, but we are required to atone where we’ve fallen short, and to do whatever we can to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past,” Obama said. “Faith is hard, hope is hard, peace is hard, but right now the book is open, not just for God but for us. As a community bound together by shared values, side by side with friends and allies like the State of Israel,” he said.

“Let’s write the next chapter in a way that speaks to the best of our traditions and the highest of our ideals. Let’s usher in a sweet new year, full of health and happiness for our families, friends and neighbors, whether they live down the street or halfway around the world,” Obama said. “Happy New Year to everyone and from my family to yours, Shana Tova,” he said.

– No fear for Jewish people –

In a video message on Rosh Hashanah, British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed that in the wake of anti-Semitic attacks around the world, Jewish people must not be left to live in fear. “As Jewish communities unite in prayer across the world, thoughts will turn to the tragic loss of life that we have seen following a number of horrific and abhorrent anti-Semitic attacks over the past year,” he said.

“Jewish communities must not be left to live in fear. As prime minister, I will do everything I can to stamp out such hatred now and in the future,” he said. “I will stand by Britain’s promise to remember the Holocaust,” Cameron said. “The UK Holocaust Memorial Foundation which I set up with cross-party support is already undertaking urgent work to capture the testimony of British holocaust survivors and to ensure that the lessons of the darkest chapter of our history are never forgotten.”

– Contribution for British society –

He also recalled the contribution that Jews have made to British society. “I deeply admire the way Jewish communities emphasize their responsibility for creating a better, fairer society for everyone,” he said. “This is one of the reasons the community has made such an immeasurable contribution to all areas of British life,” he said.

The British prime minister ended with the traditional Hebrew phrase that wishes for people to be inscribed in the book of life. “I wish everyone a very sweet new year. Shana tova and a ketivah v’chatima tovah,” he said. Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday evening and continues until Tuesday evening.

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