As we approach Rosh Hashanah, we have the opportunity to once again reflect on the past year. These High Holy Days, including Yom Kippur, are in many ways the essence of our faith, of our traditions, of our Jewish values.
Individually, we conduct “Cheshbon HaNefesh,” the accounting of the soul, when we reflect on all that we have done over the past year. But it is also an opportunity for a broader reflection. In many ways, that is what Judaism is about: constantly examining our actions and our interactions, our direction, constantly demanding a high level of awareness. Because we can always do better.
Reflecting on the past year in Israel and here at the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United States, I feel that we have many blessings to count, and that we have much more to do.
With COVID-19 no longer dictating our lives as much as it had previously, we have been able to gradually resume in-person meetings, events and delegations both from and to Israel. Delegations from both sides are crucial, because they are one of the best ways for learning about one another, understanding one another and exploring together how we can further strengthen our relations.
The importance of the direct contact and connections in all fields are what have made it so important for us to see the resuming of direct flights between Atlanta and Tel Aviv. Delta Air Lines’ recent decision to finally (re)launch direct flights is a true blessing, which will allow us all to do more in strengthening our relations.
I am writing these words from Jerusalem, as I have just arrived in Israel in order to accompany a first-of-its-kind delegation of Black women state legislators. This is a beautiful example of the blessings to be grateful for — the forging of friendships, partnerships and collaborations with important communities in the U.S., learning about them, while also educating and sharing with them what Israel and the Jewish people are about.
We hope that this will be the first of many more such delegations, and we hope to be able to bring many more communities and representatives to Israel, as well as from Israel to the U.S.
We also had the first delegation stemming from the newly launched Georgia-Israel legislative caucus, a bicameral and bipartisan delegation that has just recently returned from Israel. This caucus is testimony to the strong bipartisan support for Israel and our bilateral relations, and we hope to be able to work with our many friends in the other Southeastern states in order to see similar caucuses established elsewhere.
The close relations and warmth which we enjoy here in the Southeast are a reflection of the strength of our bilateral relations, well reflected also in President Biden’s successful recent official visit to Israel.
Later this month, we will be marking two years of another remarkable achievement: the signing of the monumental Abraham Accords, which are paving the way for a new future in the Middle East — one of friendship, hope and prosperity, rather than the hate and destruction which the extremists in our region (such as Iran and its proxy terror organizations) seek to promote.
This coming April, we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the modern State of Israel, the realization of a 2,000-year-old dream of the Jewish people to return to their ancestral homeland and regain sovereignty and control of their destiny. For three-quarters of a century, we have built a strong, vibrant democracy, a robust economy and a diverse society, with so much to be proud of.
Israel’s strength comes not only from within, but also from outside. Our brothers and sisters in the diaspora are an important part of this strength. We may differ in location, in views or in affiliations, but our Jewish identity as a people unites us. It is on all of us to do all that we can in order to ensure that our unity as a people stands strong above any differences, and remains strong for generations to come.
As we approach the year 5783, we have so much to be grateful for. We also have areas to improve on, because we can always do better and strive for more. May the coming year be a year of unity and Arvut Hadadit — mutual responsibility — and may we know many more celebrations of peace.
Shana Tova U’Metuka to each and every one of you!
Anat Sultan-Dadon is the Consul General of Israel to the Southeastern United States.
- rosh hashanah
- High Holy Days
- Yom Kippur
- cheshbon hanefesh
- Consulate General of Israel to the Southeastern United State
- Delta Air Lines
- Georgia-Israel Legislative Caucus
- President Biden
- Abraham Accords
- 75th anniversary of the modern State of Israel
- Arvut Hadadit
- Anat Sultan-Dadon