Weekly Update: Wake up and repent!

editor - 2 September 2021

Monday 6th September will be the first day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Meaning literally “head of the year”, it is the first of the Jewish High Holy Days (or “Days of Awe”) specified by Leviticus 23:23 which ends with Yom Kippur ten days later. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the religious year.

In contrast to the religious new year, which starts on the first day of the first month Nisan, the spring Passover month which marks Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Rosh Hashanah marks the beginning of the civil year, according to the teachings of Judaism. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman according to the Hebrew Bible, and the beginning of humanity’s role in God’s world.

It is a day of reflection and prayer, a time to ask the Almighty to grant a year of peace, prosperity and blessing. But it is also a joyous day, proclaiming God King of the Universe.

The best-known ritual of Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the shofar, made from an animal horn. That is why it is often known as the Feast of Trumpets. While the blowing of the shofar is a Biblical commandment, it is also a symbolic “wake-up call”, stirring Jews to mend their ways and repent. The shofar blasts call out: “Wake up from your slumber! Examine your ways and repent and remember your Creator.”

We too, in the nations, should wake up, repent and change our ways. Instead of criticising, persecuting and demonising the Jews as we have done for centuries, we should give thanks to God that He is gracious and faithful. As Johannes Gerloff explains in his excellent teachings on Romans 9-11 (see below), the Apostle Paul taught that God has not rejected or forgotten the Jewish people. No, He is restoring His people to the land as He promised, fulfilling His word in our generation. We are called to witness, and be part of, the greatest miracle of our time, the fulfilment of Biblical prophecy: the restoration of the Jewish people from the four corners of the earth. God is indeed King of the Universe!

The Editorial team

Israel & Christians Today

Ten Ideas for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks offered ten lessons for Rosh Hashana:

Number one. Life is short. However much life expectancy has risen, we will not, in one lifetime, be able to achieve everything we might wish to achieve. This life is all we have. So the question is: How shall we use it well?

Number two. Life itself, every breath we take, is the gift of God. Life is not something we may take for granted. If we do, we will fail to celebrate it. Yes, we believe in life after death, but it is in life before death that we truly find human greatness.

>Read more..

Bennett-the-mensch refuses to be the ‘un-apologist-in-chief’ – opinion

Prof. Gil Troy in JPost: “Last Friday night, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered a short “Dvar Torah” teaching to launch the impromptu Washington DC Shabbat with stranded aides and reporters, caused when US President Joe Biden postponed their summit. The Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov reported that Bennett made his remarks with 10 minutes to go before the Sabbath would begin. On the spot, Bennett wisely chose to address the theme of this season – repentance. But from whom could he learn repentance? After all, 5781 has been the “Year of the Un-Apology.””
> Read more..

Samoa first out in Global Celebrate Israel Marathon to welcome in Rosh Hashana!

Tomas Sandell at ECI: “Samoa and Venezuela were among the first nations to send in their video contributions to the Global Celebrate Israel Marathon, an event which will be broadcast from Jerusalem on Sunday, September 5th, just one day ahead of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year 5782.

The event will begin on Sunday, September 5th, at 12.00 noon CET, Brussels time (6.00 am New York) and will be transmitted on multiple platforms including the ECI website
> Read more..

First-ever Bahraini ambassador to the Jewish state arrives in Israel

Tovah Lazarof in JPost: “Bahrain normalized relations with Israel in September of 2020 as part of the regional Abraham Accords, alongside the UAE. The first-ever Bahraini Ambassador Khaled Al Jalahma landed in Ben-Gurion Airport on Tuesday to take up his new post, in what his Foreign Ministry described as another “milestone” in deepening the ties between the two countries.”
> Read more..

“Durban IV”: 30 European MPs call on states to drop UN conference tainted by antisemitism

Hillel Neuer at UN Watch: “A coalition of more than 30 members of parliament from across Europe and the UK today launched a global appeal, spearheaded by the Geneva-based non-governmental human rights group UN Watch, urging countries to pull out of the UN’s upcoming commemoration of a 2001 conference on racism that was plagued by virulent displays of  antisemitism.”
> Read more..


Hebrews | Episode 9 in video series on Romans 9-11 with Johannes Gerloff

Probably, calling the Jewish people “Jacob” or “Jacob’s Sons” would have been a little bit harsh. Maybe, the term “the Hebrews” would have been more appropriate?



Scripture for the week

Leviticus 23:23-25

23 The Lord said to Moses, 24 “Say to the Israelites: ‘On the first day of the seventh month you are to have a day of sabbath rest, a sacred assembly commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25 Do no regular work, but present a food offering to the Lord.’”


Romans 9:1-5

I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.