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September 4th, 2013
04:47 PM ET

Iranian president's surprising message to Jews

By Daniel Burke and Mitra Mobasherat, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Marking a sharp shift from his Holocaust-denying predecessor, new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday appeared to wish "all Jews" a "blessed Rosh Hashanah" on his English-language Twitter account.

Rosh Hashanah, of course, is the Jewish celebration of the new year. As Rouhani mentions, it began Wednesday at sundown. The image in the tweet is reportedly taken from a synagogue in Tehran.

Rouhani, a Shiite Muslim cleric, was elected president in June. He is widely seen as more moderate than former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, though his goodwill gesture on Wednesday stunned even veteran Iran watchers.

“Not even under the monarchy do we remember such a message,” Haleh Esfandiari, a native Iranian and director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, told Al-Monitor.

On Thursday, however, Mohammadreza Sadegh, an adviser to Rouhani, told Iran's Fars News Agency that the Rosh Hashanah tweet did not come from the Iranian president. The tweet came from former campaign aides, rather, who run the Twitter account, Sadegh said.

"All the news regarding the president, after his election, is reflected by his appointed bureau chief and those are the only official reports. Mr. Rouhani does not have a Twitter account," Sadegh told Fars.

A close aide to Rouhani, however, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that while the president does not tweet from his account, people in his office do, so it is semi-official.

Interest in Rouhani's Twitter account was nearly eclipsed on Thursday by extraordinary Tweets from the official account of Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.

If the name of Zarif's interlocutor looks familiar, it should. @SFPelosi is the Twitter account of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's daughter, Christine Pelosi.

Ahmadinejad isn't as tech savvy nor as pluralistic as Rouhani, but on a few occasions, he would issue positive statements about Christmas or Rosh Hashanah.

The former Iranian president was much more widely known, however, for saying that Israel should be eliminated and calling the Holocaust a myth. Usually, Ahmadinejad would caution that he was criticizing "Zionists," not all Jews.

Fewer than 10,000 Jews remain in Iran, according to the JTA, the Jewish news service, which still makes it the largest Jewish community in the Middle East outside of Israel.

Religious minorities are not completely free to participate in Iranian government and often face discrimination, but Jews and Christians are, to some extent, allowed to live and worship openly in Iran.

As Washington Post foreign policy expert Max Fisher points out, it's difficult to extricate Rouhani's tweet from the context of Israeli-Iranian politics.

"It’s not exactly a unilateral declaration of peace – tomorrow, Iran will probably still support Hezbollah – but it’s yet another hint of Rouhani’s efforts to dramatically soften Iranian foreign policy and rhetoric," Fisher writes.

In honor of Rosh Hashanah, here are some other things to know about the Jewish holiday:

According to the Talmud, the world was created on the first day of Tishri, the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. So Rosh Hashanah is considered a birthday of sorts for the world. (Other rabbis teach that it honors the day Adam and Eve were created.)

It is celebrated on the first and second days of the month of Tishri, which generally corresponds to September or October on the Gregorian calendar.

Rosh Hashanah begins the High Holy Days or Ten Days of Penitence, which end 10 days later with Yom Kippur.

One of the most significant rituals during Rosh Hashanah is the blowing of the Shofar, or ram's horn. It is used as a call to repentance during the High Holy Days.

During this time, Jewish people attend synagogue services and refrain from working.

Another popular practice is to eat apples dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope for a good year to come. Also, challah bread in round loaves instead of braided loaves is dipped in honey instead of salt.

Pomegranates are eaten because the seeds are symbolic of the many commandments in the Torah that Jews must fulfill.

Another popular ritual is to walk to a river or stream and recite special prayers of penitence. Afterwards, one throws breadcrumbs in the river, to symbolically cast away sins.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Foreign policy • Holidays • Holocaust • Iran • Iran • Judaism

soundoff (659 Responses)
  1. Smoke a j

    שנה טובה לכל היהודים, מקווה לשלום בקרוב

    September 5, 2013 at 12:12 am |
  2. Dr. Saleh Sultan

    The Iranian president is a traitor, a stooge for his Zionist masters

    September 5, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  3. NOYB

    I walked along the avenue.

    I never thought I'd meet a girl like you;

    Meet a girl like you.

    With auburn hair and tawny eyes;

    The kind of eyes that hypnotize me through;

    Hypnotize me through.

    And I ran, I ran so far away.

    I just ran, I ran all night and day.

    I couldn't get away.

    A cloud appears above your head;

    A beam of light comes shining down on you,

    Shining down on you.

    The cloud is moving nearer still.

    Aurora borealis comes in view;

    Aurora comes in view.

    And I ran, I ran so far away.

    I just ran, I ran all night and day.

    I couldn't get away.

    Reached out a hand to touch your face;

    You're slowly disappearing from my view;

    Disappearing from my view.

    Reached out a hand to try again;

    I'm floating in a beam of light with you;

    A beam of light with you.

    And I ran, I ran so far away.

    I just ran, I ran all night and day.

    I couldn't get away.

    September 5, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  4. ralph malph

    It's a trap.

    September 5, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • MikeyZ

      That was my first thought too:

      President wishes Iranian Jews a happy Rosh Hashanah. Iranian Jews say, "Thanks." Iranian police round them up.

      My guess is that the Iranian Jews are too smart to take the bait.

      September 5, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • T

        My guess is your an armchair quarterback that has no understanding of the topics you claim you understand.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • Dippy

          You're, not your.

          September 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
  5. NOYB

    Yeah I believe that fake sincerity.....

    September 5, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  6. brian

    Why is this surprising? Iran has one of the oldest Jewish communities in the word. Jews and Israel are not the same thing.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:48 pm |
    • fireitup

      I lived in Iran, for 4+ years, they are wonderful people. We knew Jewish people that had stores there. No one cared about their religion. They discussed their issues over tea. Please don't mix up the radicals with more insightful people that have witnessed all kinds of things.

      September 5, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  7. From A Palestinian

    שנה טובה לכל היהודים, מקווה לשלום בקרוב

    September 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • חיים

      תודה רבה. שיהיה שלום בזמן שלנו אינשאללאה.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:40 pm |
      • katrinanyc

        Probably the best exchange between two people I have ever seen on the comments section of CNN.com! (thank you Google translate)

        September 5, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Arabic is chicken scratch

      Typing in arabic on a US site is BS. This is chicken shiite.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
      • I_Hate_Ignorants

        That is Hebrew, not Arabic, Dummy... !!!

        September 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
        • jimmy

          Still the same BS

          September 5, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • Ben

        Buddy, Your arrogance is showing.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:06 am |
      • Medicine Man

        Can you not tell the difference between Hebrew and Arabic script? Use Google Translate and educate yourself. You are a poster child for why so many people hate Americans...

        September 5, 2013 at 12:08 am |
      • From A Palestinian

        Ask CNN to remove the Digits showing the date and time under your post , those are Arabic Digits .

        September 5, 2013 at 12:11 am |
        • katrinanyc

          🙂

          September 5, 2013 at 12:14 am |
  8. Craig

    Rather than question his motives, let's just celebrate that he's saying something nice. I'm not Polyanna, but hearing this just could be a start towards some real progress, so let's reward that and let him know we appreciate the words. Maybe that will encourage him to move the country towards moderation. If it doesn't we didn't lose anything. If it does maybe it's the first little step towards the fabled city of peace. The journey down the yellow brick road begins with the first step. Maybe he took it.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
    • Josh

      I agree. No matter how cynical you might feel, this is still a good sign. Just a sign, but it's something.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
    • fireitup

      I see everything right in your words.

      September 5, 2013 at 12:08 am |
  9. Actually

    Thats not surprising if you actually read up on the Iranian government policy towards it's sizable jewish population.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:45 pm |
    • Yep

      Sizable? There are a tiny number left. They have been killing off non-mooslems for a long time.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
      • right

        umm no, nice try with your bs. The reason why there are so little jews left in muslim countries is because they want to live in their ancestral homeland.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  10. JH

    Muslims tolerate Jews and Christians who are docile and subservient to Muslims. Muslims, however, hate any non Muslim who entertains thought of being equal to Muslims.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Abe

      I'm Muslim. I never thought that way about anyone else, regardless of their race or religion. Somehow, you think you know more about me than even I do. Maybe you should start taking your meds again?

      September 4, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  11. Reality

    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, Mohammed's book of death for all infidels and Muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the Gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no Muslim and that includes the new president of Iran can be trusted anytime or anywhere..................................

    September 4, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • CV78

      Really? How long has Islam been around? And how long has the word "terrorism" been in our common dialog? Hint: one of the answers is a number almost 30 times the other. Think you might actually be able to understand the conundrums of the middle east in your lifetime? If you're a person who's already over the age of 25 and believing the things you're believing, I'd say not a chance.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
    • Abe

      And who has a record of enslaving an entire race for hundreds of years, committing genocide against the indigenous population of North America, propping up dictators everywhere from South America to Africa, Middle East, and East Asia, starting illegal wars just so they can profit from the reconstruction efforts while sending their poor and uneducated kids to die for corporate greed, and even overthrowing democratically-elected governments? Wait... i shouldn't expect you to know. People in your country tend to be pretty ignorant on history and humanities in general. Don't choke on that BigMac bro.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
      • I wonder

        Abe,

        Where do you live? Have people been streaming into your country for a couple of hundred years, beckoning their friends and relatives to join them for a better life?

        The USA has problems, of course, and we need to fix those.

        September 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm |
      • Reality

        Our War on Terror and Aggression:

        An update (or how we are spending or how we have spent the USA taxpayers’ money to eliminate global terror and aggression)

        The terror and aggression via a Partial and Recent and Not So Recent Body Count

        As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

        The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

        ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

        and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

        and more recently

        1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

        1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

        2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

        3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. Iraqi civilians killed as of 05/10/2013/, 113,249-123,978 mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

        5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

        6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

        7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

        8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

        9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

        10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

        11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

        12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

        13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

        14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

        15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

        16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

        17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

        18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

        19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

        20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

        21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

        22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

        23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

        o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
        o
        BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.
        The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

        25) BURGAS, Bulgaria | Thu Jul 19, 2012 11:27am EDT

        (Reuters) – A suicide bomber carried out an attack that killed seven people in a bus transporting Israeli tourists in Bulgaria, the interior minister said on Thursday, and Israel said Iranian-backed Hezbollah militants were to blame.

        26 ) September 12, 2012
        U.S. AMBASSADOR KILLED
        Envoy to Libya dies in rocket blast

        27) Boston Marathon horror – April 2013, four dead, hundreds injured and maimed for life.

        Continued below:

        Other elements of our War on Terror and Aggression:

        -Operation Iraqi Freedom- The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US Troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles as of 09/15/2011/, 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

        – Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed mostly due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror,

        – Sa-dd-am, his sons and major he-nchmen have been deleted. Sa-dd-am's bravado about WMD was one of his major mistakes. Kuwait was saved.

        – Iran is being been contained. (beside containing the Sunni-Shiite civil war in Baghdad, that is the main reason we are in Iraq. And yes, essential oil continues to flow from the region.)

        – North Korea is still u-ncivil but is contained.

        – Northern Ireland is finally at peace.

        – The Jews and Palestinians are being separated by walls. Hopefully the walls will follow the 1948 UN accords. Unfortunately the Annapolis Peace Conference was not successful. And unfortunately the recent events in Gaza has put this situation back to “squ-are one”. And this significant stupidity is driven by the mythical foundations of both religions!!!

        – – Fa-na–tical Islam has basically been contained to the Middle East but a wall between India and Pakistan would be a plus for world peace. Ditto for a wall between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

        – Timothy McVeigh was exe-cuted. Terry Nichols escaped the death penalty twice because of deadlocked juries. He was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole,[3][7] and is incarcerated in ADX Florence, a super maximum security prison near Florence, Colorado. He shares a cellblock that is commonly referred to as "Bombers Row" with Ramzi Yousef and Ted Kaczynski

        – Eric Ru-dolph is spending three life terms in pri-son with no par-ole.

        – Jim Jones, David Koresh, Kaczynski, the "nuns" from Rwanda, and the KKK were all dealt with and either eliminated themselves or are being punished.

        – Islamic Sudan, Dar-fur and So-malia are still terror hot spots.
        – The terror and tor-ture of Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo and Kuwait were ended by the proper application of the military forces of the USA and her freedom-loving friends. Ra-dovan Karadzic was finally captured on 7/23/08 and is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the law of war – charges related to the 1992-1995 civil war that followed Bosnia-Herzegovina's secession from Yugoslavia.

        The capture of Ratko Mladić: (Serbian Cyrillic: Ратко Младић, pronounced [râtkɔ mlǎːditɕ], born 12 March 1943[1][2]) is an accused war criminal and a former Bosnian Serb military leader. On May 31, 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[3] His trial began on 3 June 2011.

        – the bloody terror brought about by the Ja-panese, Na-zis and Co-mmunists was with great difficulty eliminated by the good guys.

        – Bin Laden was executed for crimes against humanity on May 1, 2011

        – Ditto for Anwar al-Awlaki on September 30, 2011

        – Ditto for Abu Yahya al-Libi on June 5, 2012

        September 5, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  12. hharri

    CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion

    September 4, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
    • Bob from Accounting

      But God forbid that you say anything they don't like

      September 4, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • tobereal

      The former President was a Wolf in Wolf's clothing and this new President is a Wolf in Sheep's clothing. He is playing nice – and he is not. He is no friend to Israel and or the West, so we must watch on guard and not be at ease over him and his Presidency, Iran is a dangerous country to Israel (God's people) and the world. Happy New Year to my Zion friends and I pray they do not have to face this New Year wearing Gas Masks, may God continue to watch over you, from near and afar.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
      • Abe

        God's people? Interesting. So your God choses one group of people over all the rest? Racism against your own kind. Absolutely baffling.

        September 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
        • hharri

          he certainly does. no question. he chooses his favorites for what seems like an unbearable season of suffering in his crucible of refinement.

          you will tremble
          if you hear his call

          the depths to which he will go
          to have a life shine

          to reflect perfectly the glow
          of his true love for all

          September 5, 2013 at 1:09 am |
      • Peter Jenning

        Every one is God's people. Jews scholars wrote the Bible and who they are going to name God's people? Asian, blacks, Arabs, Europeans? I dont think so.

        September 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
      • Hawkeye321`

        I thought God's people were the Kardashians?

        September 4, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  13. Lee

    The American government just doesn't get it. The Iranian government doesn't hate Jews it just hates Zionists and Jews who support Israel. Judaism is one of the Abrahamic religions just like Islam and Christianity so that is why the Iranian government allows Jews and Christians to worship in Iran. They all worship God. So don't criticize Ahmadinejad and stop thinking that Iranians hate Jews.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
    • Reality

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      o
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      September 4, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
      • tobereal

        Thank you Reality, I felt enlightened with you sharing your Holy Book words. I would love to love you and share my feelings coupled with what Jesus told us, only I have a ? if you will – if you believe Jesus was born of Mary, a Virgin miraculous birth – then what next? The Jesus Islam claims to believe who was Babtized by John the Babtist as we have been instructed by Jesus to be "Born Again..." I would like to share with you: Jesus Said that He Is

        The Water of Life

        John 4:13, 14 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

        The Good Shepherd

        John 10:10, 11 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

        Eternal Life for His Sheep

        John 10:27-30 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.

        The Way, The Truth and The Life

        John 14:6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

        Jesus Invites All to Follow Him

        Seek the Kingdom of God First

        Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

        Ask, Seek, Find

        Matthew 7:7,8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

        Jesus and the Children

        Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

        September 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
        • sam stone

          edited, translated hearsay. how can you be certain what jesus said?

          September 4, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
        • Dippy's Aide

          tobereal,

          Babtized? Babtist?

          September 4, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
        • Commenter

          tobereal:

          A shepherd protects his sheep for a couple of reasons:

          - For profit from their wool and flesh
          - For a yummy dinner

          What a silly analogy that shepherd schtick is. Is Jesus up there dressed in shearling, chowing down on a nice leg 'o lamb?

          September 4, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • Athy

          Typical religious nut. Can't even spell baptize. Brain contains nothing but useless bible quotes; no useful knowledge.

          September 4, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
        • tk508

          see, here i thought reality was exposing verses in the koran to show its hostile nature, not claiming it as 'his book", so if i quote from "lord of the rings" does that make it "my book?"

          September 5, 2013 at 12:19 am |
        • Reality

          John's Gospel has no historic value.

          To wit:
          From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

          "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

          From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

          "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

          "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

          And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

          "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

          See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

          September 5, 2013 at 7:53 am |
      • Kash

        Its not like that bible is all fairy tales either: h t t p :/ / www[dot]loonwatch[dot]com/2011/03/what-the-quran-bashers-dont-want-you-to-know-about-the-bible/

        Every religion has its own share of violence. The bias in your minds and in your eyes only allows you to see one side of the coin though

        September 4, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
    • Phil

      The hate mongers twist the truth. "The former Iranian president was much more widely known, however, for saying that Israel should be eliminated and calling the Holocaust a myth." What was actually said was that Israel should be wiped off the face of the map. Just as Palestine was wiped off the face of the map. As for being a myth, far more Slavs were murdered then Jews.

      September 4, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • Athought

        Im guessing your comparing the holocaust (5 year period) to the hundreds of years of the African slave trade. What about the Jewish persecution throughout time?? What About the Jewish slave trade?? What about the persecution of Jews since Christianity came to Europe?? do you think they were not murdered regularly?? I would say there has not been a singular group or people who have faced the amount of persecution and murder over the course of humanity as the Jews have. minimum of 2500 years of persecution. Only since the end of ww2 has the Jewish culture been able to live largely without being murdered... Not to diminish the African Slave trade, but if we are talking over the course of humanity, the African slave trade was a mere blip of horror in comparison to what the Jews faced.

        September 5, 2013 at 12:17 am |
        • tk508

          he said slav, not slave, it is an ethnic group which includes polish people and many eastern europeans, google it!

          September 5, 2013 at 12:45 am |
  14. Inspiring

    Thank you, Mr President – assuming this is sincere and not sarcasm, I hope this is a sign of things to come. I hope the jews respond in kind, when it' time.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  15. paul

    Wow. That is kinda cool and unprecedented.

    September 4, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  16. mzh

    I hope they will work together to resolve all these issues that you have been living with...

    I would like to share a story from the life prophet Muhammad (pbuh)... due to the mistreatment of Mekkans they had to migrate to Medina and there were Jews and Christians besides the idolaters lives there... then when he (pbuh) saw that Jews celebrates the 10th day of Muharram (the first month of Arabic Calendar) by being fast and then he (pbuh) goes to them ask them why do they fast on that day, then he (pbuh) came to know that on that day Moses (pbuh) crossed the sea to escape from the tyrant pharaoh, then he (Muhammad pbuh) says Moses is more dearer to Muslims than Jews so I ask my people (the ummah) to celebrate this day by being fast... so since that time Muslims fast this day to celebrate the day of freedom from pharaoh...

    Peace!!!

    September 4, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
    • Reality

      As mzh continues to forget, we remind him one more time:

      http://www.muslimaccess.com/quraan/arabic/005.asp et al
      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      o
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:27-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      September 5, 2013 at 7:49 am |
  17. children of Israel

    Twelve tribes of Israel are alive & well (Galatians 4:26) *Revelation 21:2*

    September 4, 2013 at 10:39 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Mecca
    Blankety blank out about to catch ya

    Rollin it up, got my paper
    L.A. is a friendly neighbor

    Don’t put on the upities and yuppities
    I like dogs better

    Raised on religion, living on stealin’
    Mecca’s in my head buy not in my religion.

    September 4, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I am sorry, line 7 should read, "Frying eggs in my Sears Signature Kitchen"

      September 4, 2013 at 10:42 pm |
  19. mzh

    Assalamalaykoum dear friends....

    How are you all doing? 🙂

    Just thought to check on you guys...

    It become part of my life... I can't live with this blog... Thanks to cnn and to all friends from different faiths...

    September 4, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • mzh

      apologies for my typo...

      please read as "I can't live without this blog"

      September 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      wa alaykum as-alam

      September 4, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  20. Apple Bush

    If you can understand it, it has nothing to do with you.

    September 4, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.