shana tova

Biden pledges “unshakable commitment” to Israel ahead of Rosh Hashanah

VP Biden visit to Israel January 13, 2014. Courtesy U.S. Embassy, Jerusalem.

In a Rosh Hashanah statement first obtained by Jewish Insider, former Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed his “unshakable commitment to the Jewish and democratic State of Israel.”

The former vice president had a strong pro-Israel voting record during his 36-year tenure in the Senate and served as an emissary from the Obama Administration to the pro-Israel community during the lead up to the Iran deal.

In the holiday greeting, Biden also made note of the antisemitic attacks at synagogues in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Poway, California. “This last year was marked by horrific tragedies, but it was defined by the strength and resilience of the Jewish community,” said the former vice president.

The Democratic presidential hopeful, whose campaign has centered around what he sees as the unique threat to American values posed by Donald Trump’s presidency, tied Jewish values to that basic theme.  

“As our first president declared unequivocally to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island: ‘the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.’ At a moment when that basic premise is being questioned by too many here at home and around the world, when we are in a battle for the very soul of this nation, the mission of Tikkun Olam bears renewed urgency,” wrote Biden.

The full statement is below:

On behalf of Jill and myself and the entire Biden family, Shanah Tovah to all celebrating the Jewish High Holidays. This time of year offers a moment to pause and reflect on all that has passed, to consider the new year of possibilities that lies ahead, and to reaffirm the values that unite family, friends, and all who strive to spark justice in the world.

This last year was marked by horrific tragedies, but it was defined by the strength and resilience of the Jewish community. In the wake of Pittsburgh and Poway, Americans across the country–Jewish and non-Jewish alike–challenged ourselves to reach for our highest ideals and recommit to fighting hatred wherever in the world we find it.

As our first president declared unequivocally to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island: “the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.”

At a moment when that basic premise is being questioned by too many here at home and around the world, when we are in a battle for the very soul of this nation, the mission of Tikkun Olam bears renewed urgency. This is a time to reawaken to our moral responsibilities, change our ways, and renew our commitments to our faith and fundamental values. We must come together and care for one another. In the year ahead, we must reconfirm our deepest-held democratic values and the idea that the American Dream is big enough for all of us.

Those shared values are also what unite us with the people of Israel and ground our unshakable commitment to the Jewish and democratic State of Israel–and to a future that is both peaceful and secure.

To everyone in the Jewish community, We wish you a very happy, healthy, and sweet New Year. May the sound of the shofar call each of us to do justice, impart kindness, and walk humbly with our God in the year ahead.

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