September 22, 2006, - 9:46 am
By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE: Thanks to all of my readers who sent me i- and e-cards wishing me a Happy New Year. I regret that I cannot respond to each of you individually, but very much appreciate your good wishes and send them right back at ya! ****
As many of you know, tonight at sundown the Jewish holiday of Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, begins. It is one of the most important holidays in Judaism. It is the start of the Aseret Yemay Tshuvah–the Ten Days of Repentance–during which our fate, healthwise, financially, etc.–is decreed in the Book of Life for the next year by G-d.
To my Jewish friends and readers, I wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year. Gmar Chatimah Tovah–May You Be Inscribed (in the Book of Life) for (a) Good (Year). Even you, Abu Moskowitz, Peppermint Patty, and Mr. Burns (you, too, have this opportunity to repent for your sins over the past year).
On Rosh HaShanah, a two day holiday, we pray in synagogue for a good new year of peace, health, and prosperity for ourselves, our people, and the safety of our country, the USA, which has brought us such great opportunity to live in peace and freedom. We also pray for peace in Israel, America’s most loyal ally and the only democracy in the Middle East, too. Unlike in many of America’s (and the world’s) mosques–where hatred of America, Christians, and Jews is the order of the day in sermons, prayers, the Koran, and the Hadiths–there isn’t a single prayer we have that mentions Islam or Muslims.
Given the recent escalation in Islamic intolerance and violence, we also hope that, while we are praying and not bothering anyone, our synagogues are secure from all of those “lone,” “mentally disturbed,” “non-terror related” Muslims who attack Jewish institutions, when they know there will be a large gathering of Jews. We know that in this country–where after 9/11 the Justice Dept. started a special program devoted only to Justice for Muslims and Arabs–authorities aren’t really paying too much attention to the safety and civil rights of Christians and Jews.
I will be praying that our government is restored to people in touch with the real world, that the PC forces running the Depts. of Justice and Homeland Security, the FBI and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) will be replaced with common-sense law enforcement officials who care about justice, safety, and security of America, who care about protecting our borders and stopping the malefactors already inside the gate. I’ll be praying for the end to PC movies and TV shows painting Jews and Christians as the villains and extremist Muslims who support terrorism as kind, nice victims of prejudice. Those are just some of the things I’ll be praying for.
On Rosh HaShanah, we also hear hundreds of noises blown from a ram’s horn known as a shofar (can be the horn of certain other animals, too). The shofar is one of the most prominent symbols in Judaism. It’s used like a trumpet, takes a special skill to use, and is the horn that was blown by Israeli Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren when the Western Wall in Jerusalem was liberated from Islamists in 1967. Its sounds symbolize alarm and justice, among many other things.
On the holiday, we also eat apples with honey on top, to symbolize the sweet year that we hope to attain from G-d. My favorite are MacIntosh apples.
L’Shanah Tovah–To a Good Year!
Tags: America, Blowing Sounds, Chief Rabbi, e-cards, Federal Bureau of Investigation, ICE, Israel, Jerusalem, Middle East, New Year's Day, Ram, Rosh HaShanah, Shlomo Goren, United States, Western Wall