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Saudi, UAE, Bahrain Send Striking Blessings for Jewish New Year

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Traditional Rosh HaShana custom (Photo: NeedPix.com)
Dipping an apple in honey, a traditional Jewish New Year custom (Photo: NeedPix.com)

Shifting sands between Trump, the Middle East and Israel brought some surprising and striking changes for the recently celebrated Jewish New Year.

Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, was observed September 30-October 1. With the Jewish New Year came greetings and blessings to Jews in Israel and around the world from officials and prominent journalists from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

The well wishes came in English, Hebrew and even in traditional Jewish New Year songs.

First, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, Reema Bint Bandar (herself a bit of a mold breaker in Saudi society as a woman and a divorcee) sent the following greeting card:

Next, we saw UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah Bin Zayed wish Jews a “Shana Tova,” (Hebrew for a “good year”). His tweet was reposted by a Palestinian journalist from Gaza who wrote: “When people congratulate their Jewish cousins on the Jewish New Year in Hebrew, their language, honor has reached its peak.”

Bahraini writer Abdulla Aljunaid wrote a “Happy New Year” blessing in Hebrew to all of “my followers of Jewish faith,” which read in Hebrew,

“May it be [God’s] will that God will bless and have mercy on our shared father Abraham and bless you with a year of sweetness, good health and compassion. May it be [God’s] will that you will be written in the book of life. May we have the merit to see the era of peace, as it is said by the holy prophets that both of us believe in.”

One of the most beautiful messages came from Saudi blogger Mohammed Saud, who was recently attacked and spat on by Palestinians on a trip to Israel. Saud sang a moving song in Hebrew from the Jewish New Year prayers and posted the following message regarding the holiday of Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) which follows the Jewish New Yeara:

“Yom Kippur is coming. God only forgives the sins between God and man; between man and man, we are obligated to ask forgiveness. I forgive everyone who curses me, also everyone who wrote terrible things about me only because I support Netanyahu. I continue to support only Netanyahu. But I forgive the people who curse because I love the Jewish people. I want God to forgive you.”

Here is a translation of the song Mohammed Saud sang:

“Our Father, our King, hear our voice. Our Father, our King, we have sinned before you. Our Father, our King have mercy on us and on our children.”

Ali Al Ayed, a Saudi writer, wrote, “On the holiday of Rosh HaShana, I reach out to my Jewish brothers all over the world with blessing and I ask Allah to grant us peace – Jews, Christians, Muslims … Peace will grant us the love of Allah.”

In Hebrew, Al Ayed said, “At the beginning of the Hebrew year, I bless the Jews in Israel and in the rest of the world. I ask from God that He bless them and make peace in the Middle East and the entire world. Shalom.”

 

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org

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