White House to host first Rosh Hashana event, ‘intimate and highly diverse’

The reception is to be held on the Friday morning after the high holiday.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday invited Jewish leaders to an event celebrating the Jewish New Year at the White House for the first time ever, Jewish Insider reported.

The invitation read, “The President and Dr. Biden request the pleasure of your company at a reception in celebration of the Jewish New Year, to be held at the White House on Friday, September 30, 2022 at eleven-thirty o’clock in the morning.” It was embossed with the president’s seal and a large Jewish start, on a blue and white background.

The two-day Rosh Hashana holiday falls just a few days earlier, on the 26th and 27th of September.

In organizing the party for noontime, Shelley Greenspan, the administration’s liaison to the American Jewish community, has taken the sensibilities of Orthodox guests into consideration. They will easily be able to stay for the entire event while making it to their homes or hotels before the Sabbath starts in the evening.

According to the Forward, two sources who have direct knowledge of the planning said that the guest list of congregational rabbis and leaders will be “intimate and highly diverse” by race, gender and denomination.

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Last year at this time, still in the midst of battling the coronavirus pandemic, Biden held a Zoom call with some 1,000 Jewish leaders that was simultaneously streamed online so that anyone with access to the White House website could “attend.” He spoke then of confronting “the scourge of antisemitism” in the country, while also assuring his listeners that America “will never waver in our support for the future security of the State of Israel.”

He also vowed to have an in-person event in 2022, saying, “Not only next year in Jerusalem, next year at the White House, God willing.”

In holding the upcoming reception, the president will not only keep his promise; he is harking back to the ground he broke when as vice president during the Obama administration, he held a pre-Rosh Hashana party in 2012 at his residence in Washington.

At that event, he spoke of Israel and the U.S. being “intently focused on the threat of Iran,” stating that “We will use all the elements of our national security, including military” to prevent the Islamic Republic from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

Less than three years later, the U.S., EU, China, Russia, France, the UK and Germany signed a nuclear deal with Iran that then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu strenuously opposed on the grounds that it would not stop the mullahs from manufacturing the bomb.

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Notably, Biden was slammed by Orthodox Jewish leaders who claimed he excluded them from an event on antisemitism at the White House last week.