Tonight Jews around the world celebrate the Jewish new year and observe the commencement of the high holidays. President Obama has issued holiday greetings to the Jews of Israel. They come with a peculiar hectoring condescension:
At the dawn of this New Year, let us rededicate ourselves to that work [of building a better world for our children]. Let us reject the impulse to harden ourselves to others’ suffering, and instead make a habit of empathy – of recognizing ourselves in each other and extending our compassion to those in need.
Let us resist prejudice, intolerance, and indifference in whatever forms they may take — let us stand up strongly to the scourge of anti-Semitism, which is still prevalent in far too many corners of our world.
Let us work to extend the rights and freedoms so many of us enjoy to all the world’s citizens – to speak and worship freely; to live free from violence and oppression; to make of our lives what we will.
“In this season of renewal,” Obama concludes, “we celebrate that spirit [of hope]; we honor a great and ancient faith; and we rededicate ourselves to the work of repairing this world.”
An ancient Jewish adage holds: “Even a fool, when he keepeth silence, is counted wise.” Obama could learn much from the Jewish tradition, if he would listen instead of lecture.
Via Rachel Abrams.