Photo Credit: Michal Fattal/Flash90
Traditional Rosh Hashanah cards, September 28, 2008.

President Vladimir Putin congratulated Russian Jews on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, praising the role of Jewish organizations in maintaining interethnic and interreligious dialogue in Russia. Putin noted that Rosh Hashanah symbolizes people’s striving to attain spiritual purification and self-improvement.

That’s so Russian.

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“It is important that Jewish organizations in Russia have great respect for the precious spiritual, historical and cultural heritage of their ancestors and acquaint young people to paternal traditions and customs,” President Putin said, adding: “Their active participation in public life, in implementing important social and charity initiatives, in maintaining constructive interethnic and interreligious dialogue in our country deserves the sincerest recognition.”

Jewish women buy Rosh Hashanah cards, September 28, 2008. / Michal Fattal/Flash90

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev congratulated the Jewish community on Rosh Hashanah, saying, “The Jewish community of Azerbaijan, a country where there is an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust between different peoples and religions, considers this place to be their homeland. You have been living in Azerbaijan in peace and tranquility for hundreds of years, preserving your unique traditions, language, and culture, and have never faced anti-Semitism and discrimination.”

He continued: “The promotion of multicultural values, principles of tolerance, and diversity of cultural self-expression, which have existed in our country for centuries, are among priority directions of our state policy.”

According to Aliyev, “It is commendable that our compatriots of Jewish origin, as an integral part of our society, closely participate in the great construction work in our country together with representatives of other nations and faiths, spare no effort for the development and progress of modern Azerbaijan, and honorably fulfill their civic duty in the further strengthening of our state independence.” He added: “Rosh Hashanah embodies the feelings of innovation, spiritual purity, kindness, and solidarity. May this bright holiday bring happiness to your families and blessings to your tables.” (Rachel Avraham sent us this quote – DI)

US President Joe Biden said, “Just as individuals can seek renewal, so too can nations. This past year has seen encouraging progress for our nation. More Americans are securing the dignity of a good-paying job. Fewer children are living in poverty. With COVID-19 no longer the same disruptive threat it was, families can once more gather around the Rosh Hashanah dinner table and sit together in their synagogues…”

“Jill and I offer our warmest wishes to everyone celebrating Rosh Hashanah in the United States, Israel, and around the world. May your prayers be heard and your faith revitalized—and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life. Shana Tovah.”

Australia’s Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services, and Multicultural Affairs Andrew Giles issued a statement saying: “I extend my best wishes to the Jewish-Australian community as you join the Jewish community around the world in celebrating Rosh Hashanah the Jewish New Year.

“Rosh Hashanah is a special time of celebration for Jewish Australians to come together in prayer, to hear the sounding of the shofar, and share in challah and apples dipped in honey in hopes of a good and sweet new year. May the coming days be ones of reflection on the past year and a celebration of the opportunities and personal growth that a new year brings.

“Our diversity is what unites us as a society and I take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions, hard work, and dedication of over 100,000 Jewish Australians that contribute to the successes of our culturally diverse nation.

“As you come together to celebrate, I wish you all a peaceful and joyous Rosh Hashanah.

“Shana Tova U’Metukah!”

Israeli PM Yair Lapid offered his New Year wishes to world Jewry:

“To our Jewish family all around the world – Shana Tova, Happy New Year!
My hope for the Jewish people this year is that we remember we are one family.
It does not matter if you’re orthodox, secular, reform or conservative. It does not matter which synagogue you pray in, or if you pray at all.
It does not matter where you were born, or what language you speak.
We are one people, with one shared story, with one shared homeland.
We should focus on what unites us, and know how to talk about the things we disagree upon.
That’s what a family does.
This year, let’s write the next chapter of our story: a chapter of unity.
From here in Jerusalem, on behalf of myself and the Government of Israel, I want to wish you all, and your loved ones, a Shana Tova – Happy New Year.”

President Volodymyr Zelensky with Western Wall Rabbi Shmuel Rabinovitch, January 23, 2020. / Shlomi Cohen/Flash90

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday attacked Israel’s reluctance to arm his country against the Russians. (And if he did send a more positive Rosh Hashana message, we haven’t seen it yet.)

“I am shocked. I did not understand what happened to Israel,” Zelensky told TV5Monde. “I don’t understand why they can’t provide us with anti-aircraft weapons. Israel did not provide us with anything. Nothing. Zero! I am not accusing the leaders. I note the facts: there were discussions with the leaders of Israel, and it did not help Ukraine,” he complained.

He then declared: “We can notice the influence of Russia on Israel.”

Sure – did you try maybe sending us a Rosh Hashanah greeting like Putin did? No Iron Dome for you.

(And it’s since it’s Rosh Hashana, another perspective is that Israel is providing Ukraine with weapons, as rumors and unconfirmed reports claim, and Zelensky is providing us deniabliliy to the Russians by claiming we’ve sent nothing).

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.