Voice of the Jewish News: May we all enjoy a sweeter new year

Voice of the Jewish News: May we all enjoy a sweeter new year

This week's editorial reflects on a turbulent 5776 and looks forward to an unpredictable 5777

Stephen is the Jewish News' Foreign Editor

ROSH HASHANAH is a time for sweetness, celebration and reflection. It is often tinged with bitterness and sorrow, too. The Hebrew year 5776 has seen many ups and downs for the Jewish community, here in the UK and across the diaspora. It began with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader and ended… with Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour Party leader.

The intervening 12 months saw the dissolution of trust between the Jewish community and Her Majesty’s official Opposition. This came via a series of ill-fitting plasters applied to injuries caused by a spate of vicious comments, most made online. There followed the highly-anticipated report into Labour anti-Semitism by Shami Chakrabarti, which ignored both the fire and the smoke, and instead suggested that – drumroll please – anti-Semitism is a bad thing best avoided.

Elsewhere, Jewish leaders, who maintained pressure on the Government to allow more child refugees into the country, finally met with some success, while in the world of education, the Government scrapped its 50 percent faith-based admissions cap, meaning Jews may now make up the majority in Jewish free schools.

In Israel the so-called knife intifada, sparked in part by tensions over the status of the Temple Mount and provoked by a Palestinian social media campaign of incitement, has seen the deaths of 30 Israelis and 217 Palestinians in the past 12 months. It may be too much to hope that 5777 will bring a momentous shift in relations between Israel and the Palestinians, but we will never give up our prayers for peace – even without the influence of Israel’s legendary conciliator, Shimon Peres.

Let us hope next Rosh Hashanah will see us experience hope rather than bitterness. May we all enjoy a sweeter new year.

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