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Hopes and Prayers at the Start of the Jewish New Year

Tuesday 11th September 2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, sent a greeting to Jewish Communities at the start of the festival of Rosh Hashanah, marking the start of the Jewish New Year.

His greeting touches on the themes of covenant and renewal, expresses the hope that the pressures on Jewish communities including anti-Semitism and pressure arising from international tensions may alleviate. He also hopes and prays for the return of three Israeli soldiers abducted last year.

The full text of the greeting is below:

"I am writing at this beginning of a new year for Jewish communities in this country and around the world, to offer you my warmest wishes for a good year ahead and for one in which our personal and community relationships will be further strengthened and deepened. The festival of Rosh Hashanah and the solemnities of the High Holy Days through to the Day of Atonement, which follow, have a strong resonance for Christian communities who share the same scriptural heritage.

During these days Jewish families and communities will come together, as they have done for millennia, to pray and to renew a profound commitment to the foundational values of the life of faith in God. The renewal, year by year, of this grateful commitment to God's calling and covenant is the wellspring of that intense vision of justice, mercy and mutual respect that is so central a dimension of the many gifts Judaism has given to the world.

I sincerely hope that all that may have marred the year past - a rising level of anti-Semitic incidents and the anxieties and insecurities arising from conflict in the Middle East - will be alleviated in the coming year. I particularly hope and pray for the return of Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to their families.

May the year ahead indeed be one, which includes sweetness in our relations and for our country."

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