Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are the holiest days in the Jewish religion. The 10 days of penitence that link these holidays are a time for deep reflection and heartfelt consideration of the past year and the years to come. It is a time of faith, family and forgiveness.
From the celebration of the Jewish New Year, heralded by the plaintive call of the shofar, meant to stir and awaken us from the mundane routines of daily life, to the emotional crescendo of the beautiful and mournful Kol Nidre service on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, those of the Jewish faith have the opportunity to assess their lives; to examine their commitments to family, friends and work; to start anew. Then, in prayers on Yom Kippur, one asks that he or she be written into the Book of Life, God’s ledger of who shall live and who shall die, based upon who has been righteous and who has not.
Americans have a deep and abiding connection to Israel, not least because it is the only democratic government in the entire Middle East. And as home to the world’s most thriving Jewish community outside Israel, New York bears special witness to the struggle for peace in that region.
There will be much joy as families gather in the city to celebrate new beginnings and symbolically cast sins into the water. May all New Yorkers join in the spirit of renewal.