Rosh Hashanah - Greetings' President of Crif , "Rosh Hashanah, or the refusal of defeatism"

Greetings' President of Crif, Yonathan Arfi for Rosh Hashanah.

"Human destiny remains human responsibility. It is up to us to shape it, to direct it, I would almost say to humanize it."

It was with these words that Elie Wiesel, in his Nobel Peace Prize speech in 1986, recalled both the freedom and the responsibility of men and women in Judaism, condemned to be masters of their destiny.

As the festival of Rosh Hashanah opens this evening, these words underline a fundamental difference between Athens and Jerusalem, between the Greek and Jewish vision of time.

For the Greeks, time is cyclical. A new year is, above all, a sign of eternal recommencement. Man is subject to the laws of time, and nothing can prevent tragedy from sometimes prevailing.

In the Jewish tradition, on the other hand, humanity cannot escape its freedom. Time is linear and belongs to him. Therefore, a new year symbolizes the aspiration to action and renewal. It's the victory of voluntarism over defeatism.

So, tonight, let us celebrate Rosh Hashanah so that renewal prevails over new beginnings.

Let us say Shana Tova to reaffirm that there is no fatality in the face of antisemitism and to turn the page on the declarations of Mahmoud Abbas or the President of the Comoros, the tweets of Médine [1] or the fellows of Civitas [2].

Let us celebrate both Rosh Hashanah and the long history of Jews, remembering that some trace the tradition of apples dipped in honey back to Jewish communities in France in the Middle Ages.

Let's say Shana Tova in Hebrew to wish Israel unity, security, and serenity, reminding it of the attachment of Diaspora Jews to the State of Israel and its democracy.

Let's dip our apples in the sweetness of honey and work to make the world a better place so that our actions can overcome the harshness of the far left, the bitterness of the far right, the acidity of the Islamists, and the anger of haters of all stripes.

This year, more than ever, in the face of political, economic, and climatic challenges, let us remember the universal message of Rosh Hashanah, reject defeatism, and rediscover the taste for collective responses.

Let's continue to "humanize the world".

Shana Tova to all.


Yonathan Arfi, President of Crif

[1] A French Rapper
[2] A French extreme right organization