At sundown tonight, Rosh HaShanah - the Jewish New Year - begins. It marks the year 5772 in the Jewish calendar. For Jews, Rosh HaShanah commemorates the anniversary of God's creation of the universe and of Adam and Eve, the first humans. It serves as a reminder that God gave the gift of life, and as a reminder of the importance of repentance.
On Rosh HaShanah, Jews will reaffirm their belief that God is the "King of the Universe," and accept God's judgment upon them. Jews will gather together in temple, or at home, and begin to pray for forgiveness; they will pray for forgiveness from God, but also seek out forgiveness from those they may have wronged over the past year, culminating in Yom Kippur -- the day God makes his decree and seals his book.
It is a time of spiritual renewal and growth; it is a time of reflection and repentance. It is a celebration of the past, and of the future; a celebration of humanity and of life.
Jews will hear the sound of the Shofar blowing 100 times, and they will pray for a year of life, good health, and prosperity. They will dip their apples in honey, and wish each other a happy new year.
And as you pray, let us all pray for peace and security for the United States, and also extend those prayers to the State of Israel as she faces an existential threat from Iran, Syria and the Palestinian unilateral scheme at the United Nations. These threats against the Jewish homeland are real and we must all pray for a lasting peace not just for the upcoming year, but well into the future.
And so, to all of my Jewish friends, I would like to say: "L'Shana Tovah U'Metukah."