As Jewish people around the world celebrate the festival of Rosh HaShanah (Jewish New Year), the streets of Israel resound with joyous shouts of “Shanah tovah u’metuka (have a happy and sweet new year),” with family, friends and perfect strangers wishing one another a sweet and prosperous new year.
Sunset on Sunday, September 29, ushers in Rosh HaShanah, which in Hebrew means “head of the year” and marks the beginning of the year 5780 on the biblical calendar.
We’ve asked a few Israelis to share their prayers and wishes for the Jewish state for the year to come. At Bridges for Peace, we join our voices with theirs to wish Israel and her people a blessed, prosperous and sweet new year.
“Not a word failed of any good thing which the Lord had spoken to the house of Israel. All came to pass.”
“My prayers for the new year are that God will continue to protect Israel and continue to give Israel the ability to be the light unto the nations that it is. I pray that He will change the hearts of our enemies and turn them toward Him and away from hate. And I pray that it will be a year in which reciprocal solidarity and support among Jews and Christians will become the celebrated norm by which we continue to exalt God!”
—Jonathan Feldstein, president, Genesis 123 Foundation and RunforZion.com
“May this Rosh HaShanah also be understood as a birthday of maturation for the Jewish people in the Land of Israel and for the lovers of God throughout world. May we see there are opportunities here for greater consciousness. We’ve established the first phase of returning to Jerusalem and of building our homeland, but it is time for another stage, for revealing the glory of God. On this Rosh HaShanah, may we be judged well and may we be blessed, but may we also be empowered to reveal the revelation that there is a God in Zion who wishes to bless this whole earth.”
—Rabbi Yishai Fleisher, international spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron
“We believe that Jerusalem is the city of peace. We hope that in the coming year, Jerusalem will stay united and under full Israeli sovereignty and be a symbol for peace for all nations of the world. We need peace and security—that is the foundation for Israel to survive and be strong.”
—Yoni Ben Menachem, senior political and Middle East analyst and strategic consultant
“My prayer for Israel is simple. May this be the year in which our enemies round about us finally realize that we are here to stay. May they also realize that our intentions towards them are for good, for peace. And may their intentions to us be for the same.”
—Walter Bingham, Holocaust survivor, Israel’s oldest working journalist and Guinness World Record holder as the oldest radio talk show host.
“The thing that impresses me the most is that people are beginning to make the connection between the physical and the spiritual. People are beginning to see God working in the natural world, how the natural world is hidden within God. That is my wish for the next year. That more people will begin to…see how God is weaving the tapestry.”
—Rabbi Moshe Kempinski, teacher and owner of Shorashim biblical gift shop in the Old City of Jerusalem
“We Israelis often behave and speak as if we should apologize for the existence of the State of Israel. We apologize for having managed to survive, despite all the threats around us. This should not be the case. We have to raise our heads as Israelis, to have pride in our lives, and to bless the flourishing Israeli democracy that is on an equal level with the most advanced countries in the world. We get to live together here. I wish, Israel, that you will know how to enjoy the diversity that exists in Israeli society and to be a light to the world.”
—Jonathan Elkhoury, Israeli–Lebanese Christian author and advocate for Israel
“May the nation of Israel rise up as a light unto the nations, to be a priestly nation with the goal of blessing all the families of the earth with the beauty and goodness of the Torah [Gen.–Deut.] from Zion and the Word of God from Jerusalem.”
—Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel, founder of the Arugot Farm and the Land of Israel Network
“I pray that people will see Israel for who we really are, that they will see the real values of Israel—because we have so many. I pray that this year, our values will shine very bright. We are friendly, we want to bring peace to the world, we want to share our heritage and share in others, we want to grow and show the world the real light of Israel.”
—Esther Weiss, owner of Esther’s Gallery in the Hurva Square, Old City of Jerusalem
Source: See individual quotes
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