The WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps hosted a virtual Rosh Hashanah Seder on Wednesday, celebrating both Jewish unity and tradition.
More than 200 people took part in the event, which featured appearances by WJC President Ronald S. Lauder, Knesset Member Sharren Haskel, Rabbi Zsolt Balla, the German military’s chief rabbi and the first since the Holocaust, in addition to members of the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps, diplomats and other community and religious leaders.
Amb. Lauder, in his introductory remarks, said that Sept. 1 is a significant date in his life, marking when he pauses to “look back and forward” and reflect on one’s responsibilities to the Jewish people and the world at large. He specifically encouraged WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps members, whom he described as “our future,” to “reflect on what you’ve done in the past year and what we can do next year.” '
Knesset Member Haskel of the New Hope Party said the world now faced multiple challenges, chief among them a pandemic. “When we think of Israeli society, we think of a society that has its differences,” she added. “But we always knew deep down that when tragedy strikes, we have the ability to put our differences aside and unite.” She also called for a new year characterized by “unity and care for each other, and less hate and violence.”
Rabbi Balla spoke about the importance of the shofar, and praised the WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps and Amb. Lauder for “breathing life back to the Jewish people.”
Rabbi Balla also said Amb. Lauder “lived up to the words” of the late Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, who said: “Good leaders create followers, great leaders create leaders.”
Closing the event, WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps member and event moderator Aviva La Torre Ek noted that the Jewish New Year was a “time of happiness, sharing meals and prayer.”
“Let us celebrate what unites us: our prayer, our food, our song, our people globally,” she also said.