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Rosh Hashanah: The Jewish State of the Union Address

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THE JEWISH STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

As we enter the Jewish New Year, perhaps the greatest question we need to ask ourselves is: Does Rosh Hashana – and indeed, Judaism itself – have anything to tell us about our unstable economy, our fears, our distrust in leaders, global unrest and all the other issues plaguing us today?

A deep void exists in the world today. To borrow a phrase: A specter is haunting America and the Western world. A combination of an economic meltdown, political instability, the growth of Islam – and its impact on Europe and the United States – all that and more, are contributing to profound unrest and uncertainty in our country.

No wonder that close to a half million people recently gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to demand restoration of America’s values? Whether you agree or disagree with the Tea Party, Glenn Beck and the Conservative Movement, the fact is clear – the entire country is in the grips of a serious transition.

What does Judaism have to say about all of this? Most people see Judaism as nothing more than a parochial religion – isolated and exclusionary. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Judaism offers a global vision to the world – to people of all races, creeds and religions. Yet, sadly the Torah perspective is not, in any way, part of this current discourse.

It is time to change that, and today, Rosh Hashana, is the best moment to begin. Today, when the universe and the human race were born, let us take a look at what Judaism has given the world and how we can apply its message to address our current challenges. Today when the “destiny of nations is determined” (as we recite in the Rosh Hashana prayers), let us attempt to deliver the “Jewish” universal version of the State of the Union and the State of the World.

Grounded in sources and peppered with anecdotes, this sermon presents 11 core Torah principles, which can help heal our wounded world.

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