Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life

Barack Obama on How Rosh Hashanah Reflection Should Inspire Empathy and Compassion

September 4, 2013

[...Raoul Wallenberg] lived out one of the most important mitzvot, most important commandments in the Jewish tradition—to redeem a captive; to save a life; the belief that when a neighbor is suffering, we cannot stand idly by. [...] I cannot think of a better tribute to Raoul Wallenberg than for each of us—as individuals and as nations—to reaffirm our determination to live the values that defined his life, and to make the same choice in our time. And so today we say that we will make a habit of empathy. We will stand against anti-Semitism and hatred, in all its forms. We will choose to recognize the beauty and dignity and worth of every person and every child. And we will choose to instill in the hearts of our own children the love and tolerance and compassion that we seek.

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