Suzanne Fields
This is the week of Yom Kippur, when Jews reflect on the year just past and look forward to the new one, in hopes of being entered in the Book of Life. The shofar, or ram's horn, is a plaintive cry from the heart, marking natural events of birth, death and renewal. The Jewish new year is a holiday celebrated with solemnity, of repentance for the past and a step into the future and its fresh possibilities.

The cry of the shofar is often described as a wake-up call to remind us that we bear responsibility for what we do and for what we do not do. How we react to adversity and threats, personally and collectively, is important. In my children's book of famous Jews from Moses to Einstein, the emphasis is on the way triumph can be seized from difficulties. The Jews were enslaved in Egypt before they were freed to take that long journey through the desert to the Promised Land, and Moses, who led them there, was not allowed by God to enter. That was left to others.

The Promised Land is the same land that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad scorned this week as having "no roots" in the Middle East. At last, Israel has arrived at a "dead end," he told the United Nations, and it will be "eliminated" soon. Once more, Israel must struggle for survival, this time as Iran accelerates its attempt to make the nuclear weapon that could indeed "eliminate" the Jews (and everyone else) in Israel.

President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that Israel and Palestine must coexist peacefully and promised that "America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey."

Ay, there's the rub. Israel lies surrounded by enemies who are prepared neither to make that journey nor to abandon development of the nuclear weapon that will make the elimination of Israel a reality. Iran scoffs at the sanctions that Obama regards as his super-weapon and works on its super-rockets, which put all of Israel within range.

"Iran's rate of production of enriched uranium has nearly tripled since Obama took office," Joby Warrick reports in The Washington Post, "while hopes that the president can deliver a solution to the crisis have faded, even among his former admirers in Iran."

Suzanne Fields

Suzanne Fields is currently working on a book that will revisit John Milton's 'Paradise Lost.'

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