It’s almost Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This year Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday night, October 2nd. The upcoming year according to the Jewish calendar will be 5777.
I don’t know what the New Year will bring, but the one thing I’m sure of is that it will not be a quiet year. This past year was full of surprises and I’m sure the new year will bring even more.
To begin with, last October no one would have predicted that Donald Trump would be the Republican nominee for President of the United States. Furthermore, while Hillary was expected to be the Democratic candidate, no one would have predicted that she would be distrusted by so many.
Here are a few more of the major events which happened this past year:
Iran was given $400 million in cash after four American hostages were released.
The Iran Nuclear deal went into effect and sanctions against Iran were lifted. This resulted in a huge infusion of funds into Iran which is likely to be used to continue to fund terrorism.
Horrific terror incidents occurred around the world, resulting in the tragic death of so many.
Refugees flocked to Europe and many other parts of the world and their sheer numbers guarantee that the character of many of these countries will be changed.
Russia signed a pact with Syria and now has a foothold in the Middle East.
The Zika virus spread to the United States.
Racial violence reared its ugly head in the United States and seems likely to continue.
Anti semitism has increased throughout the world , as has hatred of Israel. On many college campuses pro Israel students have been attacked, and pro Israeli speakers prevented from speaking.
Violence once again broke out in Israel as Palestinians took to knife attacks, shootings and and car ramming against Israelis.
Shimon Peres died and world leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, came to the funeral. However, representatives of the Joint List, the Arab party in the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) boycotted the funeral.
Britain citizens voted to leave the European Union. What will happen to the Union without Britain’s participation is unknown.
A number of Arab countries cut their ties with Iran. Some are even starting to dialogue with Israel, albeit under the radar.
Israel and Turkey reconciled their differences and mended relations.
Israel is once again being welcomed by some African nations.
That was last year. So what can we expect in the coming year?
A new president will assume the mantle of leadership of the United States. Where he or she will take the country remains to be seen.
A continuation of terror incidents seems all but certain, given that ISIS has not been defeated. Anti semitic incidents can also be expected to continue.
But since few of the events of 5776 could be predicted, I cannot begin to guess what will happen in 5777. The world is in a state of flux and anything could happen.
So what can we do? Let’s start the new year not only by praying for world peace, but by trying to do what we can to achieve it in a limited way by reconciling with family and friends with whom we have become estranged.
As Jews we must also pledge to support each other and the existence of the State of Israel. While we may not agree with all their policies, wholesale condemnation of Israel results only in whetting the appetites of those who seek its destruction. We must remember that, as the only Jewish state in the world, Israel is the one place that any Jew will be welcomed and accepted. Jews finally have a home of their own and a place to go when their host countries make life difficult for them.
Best wishes for a happy, healthy and joyous New Year, a year in which world will finally achieve peace.