While the Jewish high holidays kicked into gear earlier this week with Rosh Hashanah, the Israel Defense Forces have been preparing for atonement and the new year for a number of months.
“Every evening for the past several months, IDF soldiers have attended lectures dealing with the customs and traditions of Rosh Hashanah in general, but in particular, how they can perfect their ways, how they can start a new stage in their lives – both in their personal lives and professional,” Rabbi Zev Roness told The Algemeiner.
Roness, who was born in New York, made aliyah with his family at a young age and after growing up in Israel, became a rabbi in the Israel Defense Forces.
“I happen to be on a training base, so there is no training on sabbath or holidays,” he said. “The only duty that will go on [during holidays] is the actual military duty that’s done to save lives. That’s what’s done every Saturday, as well as on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.”
Roness spoke with pride as he described a swearing in ceremony last week where hundreds of new IDF recruits, with their families in attendance, “screamed at the tops of their lungs to commit themselves and give their lives to protect the Jewish state.”
“People are worried about our enemies that are always threatening us and attempting to harm us, but the biggest enemy is fighting amongst ourselves. We must work on the unity of the Jewish people, and there’s no better time than holiday time, to focus on what Jewish people have in common.”