Message by President Nelson Mandela on Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) 1996

13 September 1996

The approach of a new year is always time for reflection on past achievements and the challenges that lie ahead.

One of the most important milestones of our young democracy was the recent adoption of our new Constitution. It lays a firm basis for the religious and cultural freedom of all our people.

The Jewish community has made a major contribution to the well-being of South Africa in every sphere; enriching our culture; helping build our economy; and giving impetus to our intellectual achievements. The community has given our nation many who participated in the struggle for democracy, some at great cost and sacrifice.

We know that we still face many challenges in transforming our country, it is my earnest plea that the Jewish community should continue to help us meet these challenges.

It is my hope that the peace process in the Middle East will continue, and that it will bear fruit. Our experience has taught us that with goodwill a negotiated solution can be found for even the most profound problems.

I wish the Jewish community good health, happiness and prosperity in the year ahead.

Shona Tova!

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation