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President Rivlin’s Rosh Hashanah greeting

​In his Rosh Hashanah greeting to the Diaspora, President Rivlin stresses challenges facing Jewish leaders, calls for greater engagement with Israel among the younger generation

In the run up the Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year, President Reuven Rivlin issued his traditional greeting to Jewish communities around the world.

In the message he stressed that, “Today the Jewish community and its leaders - in Israel and around the world - face three very difficult challenges.” He named the first as the “well-being of Jewish communities in need” of whom he said, “we must work to help them continue to be proud to be Jewish, with security, free from anti-Semitism, and free to wear a Kipa in the street.” The President reiterated that, “every Jew will always have a home in Israel, but should have the right to live without fear where they wish, and we must stand up for this right”.

The President noted that the “second challenge is to strengthen the bond between Israel and the Diaspora – especially the younger generation.”

He asked to speak directly to young Jews around the world and stressed firmly, “do not take Israel for granted, do not forget that our destinies are tied together.” He continued, “You hear arguments about religion, between right and left, and you see the conflict that has been forced on us with our neighbors and feel you have no voice,” and added, “I say to you, this year, come to Israel and visit, come to Israel and learn, Israel is a strong democracy, come and hear and be heard. Because we are one people, and have a duty to each other”.

The President also noted that a third challenge was “how to build bridges between all the different communities in Israel; religious, secular, Jewish, and Arab. We must build together a shared hope for Israel for our shared future in this land”. He said, “as President of Israel this shared hope is at the top of my agenda, and I see you all as important partners in this mission”.

The President concluded, “Let us this year, let’s face these challenges together. This is our strength. I wish you all a happy and sweet New Year”.
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Rosh Hashanah: Events on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem

The Rosh Hashanah holiday saw riots by radical Islamic operatives to undermine the status quo on the Temple Mount, which protects the right of Muslims to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque, and the freedom of all people to visit the Mount.

On Sunday, 13 September, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, a group of some 150 radical Islamic operatives rioted on the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif plaza in Jerusalem's Old City. The riots were launched with the intent of undermining the status quo on the Temple Mount, which protects the right of Muslims to pray in the al-Aqsa mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, regardless of their faith, to visit the Mount. The rioters disrupted visits by tourists and Israelis to the Temple Mount plaza - the holiest site in Judaism.

The operatives clearly planned their aggression many days ahead: they had barricaded themselves in advance inside the al-Aqsa mosque, where they stockpiled rocks, planks, wooden sheets and fireworks, and also prepared Molotov cocktail firebombs and explosive devices.

The riots continued for three consecutive days, throughout the Jewish festival, as the masked operatives threw rocks, fire bombs and firecrackers at the police, who responded with non-lethal riot dispersal measures. The explosive devices launched by the masked rioters injured a number of police officers and ignited several fires, which were extinguished by the police.

In order to restore calm, the police had no choice other than to remove the barricades erected in the entranceway to the mosque, and to close the mosque doors, creating a partition between the rioters and visitors. Soon after, conditions on the Temple Mount returned to normal and visitors were able to tour the Temple Mount plaza.

The events were reminiscent of the similar incident which took place in July 2015. The riots then were launched with the intent of disrupting visits by Jews to the Temple Mount plaza - the holiest site in Judaism - during Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av), a holy day of mourning to commemorate the destruction of the first and second Jewish Temples, as well as to interrupt the normal visits of tourists to the plaza. Then, as now, the stockpiles of rocks, fireworks and firebombs used by the rioters and the barricades they placed in the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque demonstrate that the violence was pre-planned and that the rioters intended to focus the violence around the mosque.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly declared that the Government of Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo on the Temple Mount and will oppose any attempt to change it forcefully. The status quo protects the right of Muslims to pray in the mosque, as well as the freedom of all people, whether Muslims, Christians, Jews or others, to visit the Temple Mount .

The radical Islamist rioters on Temple Mount have deliberately desecrated, damaged and endangered a site holy to Muslims and to Jews, turning it into a battle field, using stones, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices. Israel will not allow the al-Aqsa mosque to become a terrorist stronghold.

The stockpiles of rocks and weaponry used by the Palestinian rioters and the barricades they placed in the entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque all demonstrate that the violence was pre-planned.

While the Israeli authorities take measures designed to ensure freedom of religion for all, allow access to all of Jerusalem's holy sites, uphold the status quo on the Temple Mount and maintain public order, there are many on the Palestinian side who are actively attempting to change the status quo and to undermine the delicate balance and long-standing modus vivendi in Jerusalem.

Over the past four years, Islamist radicals have endeavored to violate the status quo by preventing non-Muslims from visiting the Temple Mount, most often during Jewish holidays. Two such groups, the Mourabitoun and the Mourabitat, were declared illegal organizations on 8 September 2015 due to the grave threat they pose to the public order. They are funded and led by the Hamas and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, and are directed to attack visitors, as well as the police, with rocks, iron rods, Molotov cocktails and explosive devices.
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PM Netanyahu's Rosh Hashana greeting to Jewish communities abroad

​PM Netanyahu: Israel will remain a source of pride and strength for Jews, no matter where they live and I have no doubt that the future of the Jewish people is one of hope and promise.


Following are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Rosh Hashana greetings to Jewish communities around the world:
"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 even violent anti-Semitism.
So on behalf of the people of Israel, I thank you for supporting our just campaign to defend ourselves; to provide the sustained peace and security that all Israelis deserve. And I assure you that we in Israel will continue to stand by your side as you confront hatred and intolerance. Jews everywhere must be able to live proudly and without fear.
As we celebrate Rosh Hashana with our families and friends, we should also celebrate the strength we derive from our commitment to one other. That strength will serve us well as we meet the challenges – and also the remarkable opportunities – of the New Year.
Israel is an amazing success story. The Jewish people are again sovereign and free in our own homeland. Together we have built a vibrant democracy, a robust economy, a global technological powerhouse.
In the New Year, Israel will remain a beacon of freedom and human rights in an intolerant area; Israel will continue to be a source of innovation to the benefit of the entire planet; and Israel will not give up its dream of a secure and enduring peace with all our neighbors.
Israel will remain a source of pride and strength for Jews, no matter where they live and I have no doubt that the future of the Jewish people is one of hope and promise.
So on this holiday of Rosh Hashana, that is definitely something we can all celebrate. Shana Tova to all of you".
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Rosh Hashanah message from the President of Israel

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


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
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Confusion over Iranian leaders' Twitter messages to Jews

WJC, Twitter messages that appeared to have been issued by newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, wishing Jews a good Rosh Hashanah, have been met with mixed reactions by the international community.
On Wednesday, the eve of Rosh Hashanah, a message was posted on Rouhani's English-language Twitter account where he wished all Jews a happy Jewish New Year. “As the sun is about to set here in Tehran I wish all Jews, especially Iranian Jews, a blessed Rosh Hashanah,” the tweet read. A day later, as the message was analyzed abroad and in Iran, the semiofficial Fars news agency quoted a Rouhani aide as saying that the account was no longer active. That appeared to be a dodge, especially since the same account was also used Thursday to announce the change in Iran’s nuclear negotiating team.
In only his second tweet, Iran's new Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wished Jews a "Happy Rosh Hashanah." Zarif even replied to a tweet from Christine Pelosi, the daughter of US House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said to him: "Thanks. The New Year would be even sweeter if you would end Iran's Holocaust denial, sir" by distancing himself from Iran's former leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Zarif first tweeted "The man who did is now gone," but then deleted that post and replied again to clarify: "The man who was perceived to be denying [the Holocaust] is now gone." The foreign minister confirmed to CNN that he did write those tweets and was aware he was responding to Nancy Pelosi's daughter. Rouhani also retweeted Zarif's "Happy Rosh Hashanah" post.
Access to Twitter is officially banned for most Iranians.
Reactions
World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder said that while the Iranian leaders' message were "a surprising gesture and a welcome change in tone", “words are meaningless if they are not backed up by credible actions. Until Iran ends its support for the enemies of the Jewish state, until it stops providing support to terrorist groups targeting Israeli and Jewish targets worldwide, and a regime that is gassing thousands of its own citizens in order to remain in power, these words sound hollow.”
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he was "not impressed", and that the Iranian regime would "be judged only by its actions and not by greetings" whose purpose, he said, was to deflect attention from its nuclear program. He called on the international community to strengthen sanctions on Iran meant to curb its nuclear activities.

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Finding Israel, Finding Roots In Your Rosh HaShanah

By Dr. Elana Heideman, The Israel Forever Foundation

Every year as Rosh HaShanah arrives, Jews around the world come together for their annual commemoration of the birth of the world. We contemplate how this year’s celebration will be different than the year before, who will join us at our chag table for our festive meal, who we’ll see in shul that we haven’t seen since... well, the last time we gathered as a community. We use this chag to honor our relationship with friends, family, our Jewish identity, and of course with God. We wish each other Chag Sameach and recite the same prayers, but often hope for a little something different in the coming year.

In Israel, the chagim (חגים) are a national celebration for religious and secular alike. The whole country becomes immersed in the spirit of renewal and of celebration, and schools, streets and homes are filled with the sights and sounds of the holiday. In addition to whatever religious observance one might practice in accordance with these days, there is an atmosphere of joy as we gather together with our loved ones and eat the delectable dishes - ripe with tradition, symbolism and of course flavor - that embody the bounty of our ancestral land.
Every different style of celebration in Israel in some way honors the deep biblical roots that remind us of our belonging to the land in which we are living. For Jews throughout the Diaspora, however, the emphasis of Rosh HaShanah is often devoid of this historical connection. There have even been articles and requests to eliminate references to Israel in their sermons or in family discussions on these holiest of days in the Jewish calendar, under the assumption that the only association possible is one of conflict and tension.
Indeed, the exact opposite is true. After thousands of years of living in exile, of praying for the return to Tzion, we should be reminded and should remind each other of the value of Israel and her meaningfulness in our lives every chance we get - as family, friends, as a community, bound together by our common connection to Israel in spite of the differences we may otherwise have.
This year we honor 5574 years since creation. Called the Feast of Trumpets in the Bible, the meaning of Rosh HaShanah implies a divine appointment, a time to meet with God. The liturgy and readings from the Torah serve as reminders of our mortality and personal responsibility we each bear for our behavior, and the shofar is intended to be a “wake up call” to the human conscience.
In the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur, we each endeavor a personal Cheshbon Nefesh, “accounting of our soul.” We reflect on whether our lives have lived up to the expectations we set the previous year at this time. We review our deeds and thoughts over the past year, searching for a connection between our daily lives, our faith, and how we can translate this into meaningful conclusions that we can carry into the new year.
Indeed, Rosh HaShanah is a time of reconnecting - with ourselves, with each other, and our identity as Jews.
So how can we afford NOT to include also a reflection of how our connection to our ancient homeland can be emphasized, celebrated, strengthened in our hearts, in our homes, with our family and friends?
Just as we strive to establish meaningful connections through our personal reflection and observance, this day of significance in the Jewish tradition should remind us of our origins as a people and our shared heritage in spite of being scattered across the four corners of the earth.
Don’t let the media overpower your relationship with our ancient home and the society and culture that are now thriving there.
Don’t let politics divide you from the rest of Am Yisrael.
Don’t let the often-distorted representations of the conflict or demonized versions of Israeli perspectives sway you against the one and only Jewish State in the world.
Wherever you may be in the world, there is a connection that is just right for you. It is our obligation as Jews to delve deeper and seek it out.
Let us all strive to be inspired and to Inspire Israel in others in the new year that lay ahead!!!
Wishing you all the sweetness of Israel and a blessing for a beautiful new year.
Chag Sameach v’ Shanah HaBaah U’Metukah!
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The Fellowship and FIDF will be granting $3.2 million in financial assistance to over 8,000 IDF soldiers in-need

Every IDF soldier requiring financial assistance will receive a $70 “Fellowship Gift Card” for Rosh Hashanah

Jerusalem, Israel, The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), will provide “Fellowship Gift Cards” as holiday gifts to over 8,000 soldiers in-need and Lone Soldiers serving in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Over the past six years, FIDF and The Fellowship have provided almost $16 million of financial support to soldiers from low-income families.

As part of this support, FIDF and The Fellowship will distribute the “Fellowship Gift Cards” during the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Chanukah, and Passover, accounting for $2.2 million of the $3.2 million allocated for this year. This campaign is administered in collaboration with the IDF Personnel Directorate and reaches every eligible IDF soldier.

The Rosh Hashanah gift card, in the amount of $70 per soldier, will allow the soldiers to celebrate the holiday without the burden of financial stress. The gift cards can be used in major retail chain stores across Israel to purchase food, clothing, shoes, sports, and leisure products. Among the soldiers who will receive this financial support will also be 2,800 Lone Soldiers, young men and women who choose to leave their countries of origin to immigrate to Israel and serve in the IDF. Lone Soldiers come from all corners of the globe to become part of the IDF melting pot and enrich it as well as add to its magnitude.

This past March, Rabbi Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, received a prestigious award from FIDF. FIDF National Director and CEO, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon presented the award to Rabbi Eckstein at the FIDF National NY Gala Dinner in recognition of his work for the soldiers and the State of Israel.

Rabbi Eckstein, Founder and President of The Fellowship, said: “The growing cycle of poverty in Israel affects many soldiers. We appreciate the soldiers who decide to serve the State of Israel and keep us all safe despite the economic difficulties they are experiencing at home. Our goal in sponsoring the ‘Fellowship Gift Cards’ is to enable them to fulfill their obligation to the state while knowing they are fulfilling their obligation to their families as well. Now they can serve with peace of mind while caring for their personal needs and the needs of their families.”

Maj. Gen. (Res.) Yitzhak (Jerry) Gershon, National Director and CEO of FIDF, said: “The State of Israel, Ministry of Defense and all organizations working for the welfare of all soldiers must make every effort to meet their needs. We must enable each soldier to focus on their service, role and mission and not on personal financial problems. We at FIDF believe that their job is to look after Israel and it is our job to look after them.”

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Blessing - The apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah

 

ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ.‏
English: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri ha'etz.
Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree."
A bite of apple dipped in honey is eaten, which is followed by:
יהי רצון מלפניך, ה׳ אלוהינו וא לוהי אבותינו, שתחדש עלינו שנה טובה ומתוקה.‏
English: Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, shet'hadesh aleinu shana tova um'tuka.
Translation: "May it be Your will, LORD our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year."

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