Shana tova. A happy new year to all.

Rosh Hashanah – Honey before Vinegar or Vinegar Before Honey?

Jessica Leschnikoff writes for Jewish Voice for Labour

Dear JVL Members,

As some of you will know, on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), we tend to serve sliced apples dipped in honey to guests and visitors in our homes and synagogues, symbolising hope for a sweet new year. This also reminds us to also count the blessings we had in our previous year.  Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement –  is the bitter sibling to Rosh Hashanah. Observed nine days later, on this holiest day of the year, among other commanded “afflictions”, many Jews will fast on Yom Kippur for 25 hours (no food or liquid), and in the previous days, we try to make amends for the wrongs we have done to others. As a result of this fasting and self-examination and through private and public prayer and discussion we make a deep commitment to maintaining or even returning to the right moral path.

It seems very appropriate therefore to reflect some of these themes through a post-Labour Conference political lens. Most members can agree that Conference has been an especially intense one. Despite huge controversies being played out in the Tory psycho-drama that is Boris Johnson’s narcissism, Labour helped to quash his dictatorial abuse of power that saw our parliament illegally closed for many days. While Prime Minister Johnson was openly lying to the Queen and unlawfully proroguing parliament, our movement has stayed strong and mindful of the people worst affected by these self-entitled Machiavels. We have created party policy amidst this typhoon – policy that seeks to protect and preserve our planet, and policy that is radical, progressive and future-proof. We must go further of course, but that is the apple dipped in honey.

Alas, this is where we will also find the bitter taste of vinegar. Have no doubt: there are those who will do anything to prevent a Socialist, Corbyn-led Government. The scrutiny and targeting of individuals, groups like ours and the whole Labour movement will intensify ten-fold as the Establishment attempts to keep its teeth and claws sunk into every system it created: a system designed to subjugate the strong and destroy the weak. This is why our commitment to democracy, transparency, equality, accountability and justice is even more paramount than ever. The only thing that will keep us on that path is the solidarity and integrity we show to each other and to the most vulnerable in society – at home and abroad.

So, to all JVL members, all Jews, and all Labour members and supporters: by standing together with the Oppressed, we can use the vinegar to bring down the Oppressor!

New Year will be all the sweeter!

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