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Times Are A Changin’: Saudi Citizen Sings Jewish Prayer Marking Jewish New Year

By  Hank Berrien
Religious Judaic objects used for prayer - a shofar, tallis, and prayer book.
Photo by tovfla/GettyImages

On Thursday, outgoing U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt posted a video indicative of how much has changed in the Middle East in recent years, with a Saudi citizen singing the moving Jewish prayer “Avinu Malkeinu,” which is sung frequently during the ten days between Rosh Hashanah, which marks the Jewish New Year and was celebrated at the beginning of this week, and Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, in which Jews ask God for forgiveness for their sins.

Mohammed Saud was singing the version of “Avinu Malkeinu” written by the composer Max Janowski.

According to Jewish belief, on Rosh Hashanah God opens the book of life and death to decide who will live or die in the coming year; he closes the book on Yom Kippur, making the ten days noteworthy for serious introspection. On Yom Kippur, Jews are permitted to ask for forgiveness for their sins against God and sins they are unaware they have committed, but any sins against their fellow man must be dealt with by having apologized to the person who was hurt in the process and asking for their forgiveness personally.

The text of the prayer begins: “Our Father, our King, we have sinned before You. Our Father our King, we have no King except You. Our Father, our King, deal with us kindly for the sake of Your Name. Our Father, our King, bless us with a good year. Our Father, our King, annul all harsh decrees concerning us.”

In an astonishing historical turn of events, the machinations of the Obama Administration as former President Barack Obama seemingly supported Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, triggered a massive shift in the alliances of the Middle East, as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, traditionally enemies of Israel, tacitly joined Israel out of common concern regarding Iran.

Those alliances have created an opportunity for dialogues to take place that once would have been considered unthinkable. As The Times of Israel reported in April 2018. “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview published Monday, recognized Israel’s right to exist and extolled the prospect of future diplomatic relations between his kingdom and the Jewish state.” Bin Salman stated, “Our country doesn’t have a problem with Jews. Our Prophet Muhammad married a Jewish woman. Not just a friend — he married her. Our prophet, his neighbors were Jewish. You will find a lot of Jews in Saudi Arabia coming from America, coming from Europe. There are no problems between Christian and Muslims and Jews. We have problems like you would find anywhere in the world, among some people. But the normal sort of problems.”

Bin Salman said of Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei:

Hitler didn’t do what the supreme leader is trying to do. Hitler tried to conquer Europe. This is bad. But the supreme leader is trying to conquer the world. He believes he owns the world. They are both evil guys. He is the Hitler of the Middle East. In the 1920s and 1930s, no one saw Hitler as a danger. Only a few people. Until it happened.

For the full version of the Janowski Avinu Malkeinu as sung by the legendary tenor Jan Peerce, see here.

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