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(WASHINGTON) — In his annual message marking the Jewish New Year, President Obama calls for reconciliation at a time when “public discourse can too often seem harsh” and “society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us.”

“This is a joyful time for millions of people around the world. But Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are also opportunities for reflection. They represent a chance to take stock of our lives and look forward to the coming year with clear eyes and renewed purpose,” Obama says in a video message in advance of the beginning of Rosh Hashanah Sunday night.

“In that spirit, the Jewish Tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation. We’re called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should,” he says. “I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another.”

The president also reaffirms the U.S. commitment to Israel. “As a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering, and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies, including the State of Israel,” he says.

“Michelle and I wish you and your families a sweet year full of health, happiness and peace,” he says. “L’Shanah Tovah.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


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