Rosh Hashanah is the only festival celebrated on Rosh Chodesh, the holiday which marks the rise of the new moon. Every month the new moon reminds us that no matter how dark the conflict appears, the "light" of the full moon will inevitably reappear. The crescent moon, that marks the first night of Rosh Hashanah and thus the first night of the new year, serves as a reminder. Although we may feel frustration over the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we must remember that the moon like the peace process takes shape incrementally, but ultimately becomes full and radiant.

Dear friends of Brit Tzedek,

On behalf of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, I want to wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.
 
Rosh Hashanah, which commemorates the rebirth of the world, is a time for reflection and self-evaluation. It is a time when we can assess the past year and consider new paths for the coming year.

Below we offer ten reflections related to our work in Brit Tzedek v'Shalom for you to consider during the ten Days of Awe beginning with Rosh Hashanah and ending with Yom Kippur.

Rosh Hashanah is a fitting time for such reflection. It is when Jews traditionally read the stories of Sarah and Hannah, women who had been infertile, and then with divine help conceived. It is also the time when we read of Hagar who went from the despair over the prospect of watching her son, Ishmael, die in the desert, to relief upon opening her eyes and seeing that Ishmael would not only survive, but flourish.
 
In these biblical stories the impossible becomes possible not because of God's intervention alone, but also because these individuals raise their voices rather than suffer silently. Let us be inspired by their example, to take action by giving voice to our vision.

Reflections:

  • Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible.
  • Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is possible within our lifetime.
  • A peace that takes into consideration the needs and interests of both sides is possible.
  • Peace can bring about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians.
  • Peace between Israelis and Palestinians is good for the Jewish people.
  • The American government can play a significant role in bringing about a peaceful resolution to the conflict.
  • American Jews can play an important role in the achievement of a peaceful resolution to this conflict.
  • Your voice and your actions can make a difference.
  • If we, as a collective, decide to act, we can bring about a peaceful resolution of the conflict.  
  • By maintaining our vision of peace despite the chaos, we can create the conditions for Israel to prosper in ongoing peace with its neighbors.
L'shanah tovah: May you have a good year, a sweet year, a year of peace and a year of joy.

Warmly,

Aliza Becker, Executive Director
Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace

Suggestions for Rosh Hashanah:

1. In your Rosh Hashanah cards and email messages, include information about the Open Letter from American Jews to the next President, including the website address, http://openletter.btvshalom.org.

2. When you see family, friends and acquaintances over the holiday, tell them about the Open Letter and ask them to sign it. If you would like to gather signatures for the Open Letter on petitions or fliers, request them by emailing info@btvshalom.org.

3. One Rosh Hashanah tradition calls for eating foods that sound like or represent the things you want for the new year. So eat peas and peaches for peace. Or you can eat food that reminds you of Israelis and Palestinians, such as pomegranates, dates and olives.

4. Look into the excellent resources below which reflect upon the connections between the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Rosh Hashanah.

Resources:

If you would like to add to these ideas, please contact the Brit Tzedek Religious Affairs Committee

To sign the Open Letter from American Jews to the Next President, click on http://openletter.btvshalom.org

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace
11 E. Adams Street, Ste 707
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 341-1205
Fax: (312) 341-1206
info@btvshalom.org
http://www.btvshalom.org

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