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HIGH HOLIDAYS 2023

WATCH: Herzog’s Rosh Hashanah message to the Jewish people

"Having differences and being able to voice them is a sign of strength—the strength of our democracy and our people," says the Israeli president.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog attends an event on Israel's 75th Independence Day, April 26, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog attends an event on Israel's 75th Independence Day, April 26, 2023. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

The following is the video and full text of Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s Rosh Hashanah message to the Jewish people:

Shalom to all of you, sisters and brothers from around the world. As Rosh Hashanah approaches, and a new Jewish year beckons, it is a pleasure for me to send greetings to all of you from the President’s Residence in Jerusalem.

It is no secret that this year has challenged us in very real ways. For so many, this time of reflection takes on new meaning this year as we have watched Israel struggle with big questions that highlight how big the differences between us can be.

But friends, sisters and brothers, whilst our differences can be painful, they also point to an important comforting truth: We all care deeply about our Jewish people, and our beloved Jewish and democratic State of Israel.

It is OK to have differences. In fact, having differences and being able to voice them is a sign of strength—the strength of our democracy and strength of our people. Our differences are our greatest asset.

So, dear friends, I share my hopes that at this time of renewal in the Jewish calendar, each of us makes a special effort to get to know these differences, which are the source of the richness and the resilience in our society.

 To try to really hear, listen, and open our hearts so that we can touch, once again, what is most true: Our belonging to each other, and to the great story we carry together. As we say, Kol Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh—“All of Israel are responsible for one another.”

As Israel’s president, I believe that this act of listening is the first and most crucial step in healing our rifts. That is why this year, together with the Jewish Agency and the WZO [World Zionist Organization], my office has launched the Kol Ha’am—‘Voice of the People’ initiative for a worldwide Jewish dialogue.

I hope each of you will contribute your voice to Kol Ha’am. I invite you to create a global Jewish conversation that is inclusive, vibrant, empowering and will also impact the nation-state of the Jewish people. For the sake of our shared future, for the sake of our shared now.

Dear friends, She’titchadesh Aleinu Shanah Tovah U’metukah. May it be a year of sweetness and genuine renewal for us all.

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