Russian President Vladimir Putin dwelt on the Jewish tradition of seeking coexistence and peace among nations, in his annual Rosh Hashanah message to the Jews of Russia.
The message, sent as an official letter from the Kremlin, was delivered to Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar, who provided a Hebrew-language translation on Sunday.
“For every Jew, Rosh Hashanah is not just a salute to the priceless spiritual and historical heritage of their fathers,” Putin wrote. “During these days it is customary for each person to evaluate the moral outcome of his actions, to plan good deeds, to forgive, and to make amends for insults. And of course, in preparation for the festival, they help relatives, and serve and support anyone in need.”
The letter was also published in the official Russian press.
“For hundreds of years Jewish values were steeped in lofty purposes — the unification of people, to strengthen belief and mutual understanding. The religious Jewish organizations of Russia adhere to this ancient tradition, working tirelessly to increase peace in the community, to better the relations between different people, to develop fruitful debate with the other traditional religions, while fiercely confronting all manifestations of anti-Semitism and hatred of strangers.
“The Jewish organizations are very active in charity and education — all in the public interest. I wish Russian Jews a happy and sweet year, good health, happiness and prosperity,” he said.
Putin’s message came alongside similar communications from other world leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
In a video message, Obama said “peace is hard,” but urged Jews worldwide and Israel to “write the next chapter in a way that speaks to the best of our traditions and the highest of our ideals.”
The US president added that “faith is hard, hope is hard, peace is hard, but right now the book is open, not just for God but for us.”
Cameron focused on the need to defeat anti-Semitism, and stressed that in the wake of attacks around the world, Jewish people “must not be left to live in fear.”
“Jewish communities must not be left to live in fear. As prime minister, I will do everything I can to stamp out such hatred now and in the future,” he said.
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday evening and continues until Tuesday evening.