L’shana tova to our friends in the Southeast and Midwest of the United States.

I want to begin by thanking all of you for your warm support and gracious hospitality. I am now just ending my second year here in Atlanta. My husband, Oded, our daughter, Roni, and I feel very much at home here in the South.

As you ready your homes and communities for the High Holidays and the subsequent beginning of the Jewish holiday season, I’d like to extend to you my greetings and hopes for the new year.

On this Rosh Hashanah, we not only look at the months gone past and reflect on all we could have done better, but we also gaze at the road ahead and prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s challenges.

Israel faces many challenges, both internally and externally: social challenges, economic challenges and of course security challenges. Challenges that we can and will overcome, as we have done many times before.

To do so, however, we must work internally to strengthen the bonds between us. The relationship between the Jewish American community and Israel is firm, but we must endeavor for an even more verdant bond.

I hope these coming High Holidays will inspire a sense of unity throughout the world and bring us into the next year with a revitalized commitment to promoting peace.

On Rosh Hashanah, Jews are asked to shed the daily pressures of the past year in order to spend time on meditation, prayer and self-reflection so that we may come into the year 5778 renewed and able to focus our attention on tikkun olam and matters of higher importance.

As the year draws to a close, I want to express my sincere gratitude for the unwavering support of the Jewish community of Atlanta to the people and state of Israel. On behalf of the Consulate General of Israel to the Southeast, we wish you a happy and prosperous new year, and we look forward to working with you in 5778.

Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer is the consul general of Israel to the Southeast (embassies.gov.il/atlanta), serving Georgia, Tennessee, North and South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky and Missouri.