A Rosh Hashanah message for the Australian Jewish Community

September 21st, 2022


“Dear Friends,

I would like to start by wishing you all a Shana Tova U’Metuka, a sweet and happy new year.

As we approach the high holydays, we must take a moment to reflect on what a year this has been. We look back on all our achievements, our challenges and difficulties and our moments of joy, and then we look towards the future and all that we can achieve as a community.

This time last year, COVID restriction prevented us from celebrating the Chagim with all our loved ones, with our children, grandchildren, family and friends. However, as a community we were resilient and adapted to a new normal, and this year it is a true blessing to be able to gather together and welcome the New Year around a table with family present. It is remarkable to see just how far we have come, and as we say Shana Tova this Sunday night, we can be nothing but grateful.

The year of 5782 has not been easy, yet our community has been stronger than ever.

We have stood behind our students as they have found themselves yet again on the frontline of vicious antisemitic attacks on campus;

We have collectively supported the Jewish community in Ukraine as they continue to face a devastating war;

We have been united in reporting hate incidents no matter where they come from and we prayed together for our family and friends in Israel as they faced repeated terror attacks and acts of violence.

More recently, we lived through the end of an era when we lost her majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, a figure of strength and admiration across the Jewish community and the world. We extend our best wishes to her successor King Charles the Third. May he have wisdom and fortitude to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.

Considering all these challenges, Rosh Hashana is an important time for all of us. We mark and honour the traditions which have sustained us for thousands of years, and give thanks for renewal and community which fosters and nourishes the Jewish spirit.

As the Late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks noted (and I quote), “On Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the days between, we enact one of Judaism’s most powerful yet unfashionable beliefs: that our lives individually and collectively have a moral dimension.”

Over the high holidays, we are required to reflect on what we have done well and what we must improve on, not just as individuals but as a community. This period of reflection has been integral in keeping our people strong for thousands of years. and I am sure this year that our reflections will provide guidance for a great year ahead,

With this in mind, I want to wish you all a meaningful, inspiring, and joyful Rosh Hashanah. May our community continue to thrive and become even more cohesive and inclusive. I wish you all peace, good health, joy, and prosperity.

On behalf of everyone at the ECAJ, Shana Tova.”

Jillian Segal AO, ECAJ President