The White House released President Obama’s Rosh Hashanah greeting, which is pretty straightforward but will probably be brought up by at least one of your relatives at dinner tonight. Maybe a grandparent.
In the video, Obama mentions the March on Washington, where rabbi and civil rights activist Joachim Prinz stood with Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lincoln Memorial. “Representing the thousands of Jews there that day,” Obama says of Prinz, “he told the marchers, ‘When God created man, he created him as everybody’s neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept.’”
Just like the generations that came before us, we live in challenging times. But I know that if we work together we can make this moment one of hope for all our neighbors–in America, in Israel, and around the world. In that spirit, Michelle and I wish you and your family a sweet, happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.
It’s a heartfelt message, though it comes in the midst of lingering uncertainty about Syria (“Beyond our borders, we must stand for the security of our allies, even as we take new steps in the pursuit of peace.”) and isn’t entirely free of politics (“At home, we must continue building an economy that gives all people willing to work hard a fair shot at a middle-class life.”). Still, it’s a nice presidential send-off into the new year. Now if only he could have rescheduled Fashion Week.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.