A Rosh Hashanah like no other — it is a time to reflect

The JC Leader, 17 September 2020

September 17, 2020 10:13

This time last year, our leader column focused on the danger posed to our community by a virus that began with the letter C.

We were not, of course, so far-sighted as to be warning of Covid-19. The virus was Corbynism and the threat was of a Corbyn government. While it should be a relief to be able to record this Rosh Hashanah that Mr Corbyn is, once again, merely a back bench MP, the impact of the coronavirus has been so stark as to undermine the idea of any kind of relief.

Mr Corbyn may be gone but the poison he unleashed remains, with antisemitism still a shockingly significant issue. The report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission into Labour’s institutional racism under the Corbynites is due imminently, and it is to be hoped that this will serve as a reminder of the outlook and behaviour of this strand of the modern left.

The fight against Jew hate remains as vital and important as it was before December’s election sent Mr Corbyn packing.

But we — and the rest of the world — are also faced with a more direct threat, from Covid-19. This is a Rosh Hashanah like no other, with the vast majority of us likely to stay away from synagogues. Indeed, with the new Rule of Six, we will not even be able to meet our own wider families, let alone friends.

Despite honourable attempts to pretend otherwise, there is no upside to this. It is an unmitigated disaster. Distressing as this is, however, we have to be grateful for what we do have: life itself. Covid-19 has been a rapacious killer and has wreaked havoc on so many aspects of our existence.

But the story of our people should give hope to everyone. No matter what has been thrown at us, we have always found a way to rebuild and flourish. We, our friends and our neighbours will do so again. And there is hope if you look for it, not least in this week’s historic Abraham Accords, signed on the White House lawn.

Events of the past year have shown the foolishness of predictions, so we make none. We simply point out that next year is likely to be tough, too, with the impact of Covid-19 still felt.

The High Holy Days are a time for reflection and thought. If we truly value our community, that soul searching should lead each of us to realise that we have a role to play. And perhaps the signing of the Abraham Accords can encourage us to ignore old, destructive divisons within our community. We wish our readers a happy, healthy and peaceful new year.

September 17, 2020 10:13

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