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On Jewish New Year, Syria top of mind for local Jews

Thursday marks the Jewish New Year. But in Roswell there is decided opposition to the notion of a military operation.

“L’Shana Tova!”

Leonard Goodelman greets a visitor by wishing him a sweet, happy new year - a traditional Jewish greeting during these high holy days. But he’s worried that it will be neither sweet nor happy if America decides to strike at Syria in retaliation for Syrian President Bashir al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in an August 21 attack that reportedly killed 1,400 people.

“I feel that we need to sit this one out,” said Goodelman, owner of Affordable Photography in Roswell. “I think we’ll be hitting a beehive. They’ll be coming at us from everywhere.”

Goodelman worries that an American strike on Syria’s embattled government will have grave, perhaps violent repercussions in Israel, where he and his wife, Deborah, have many friends. Even more importantly, he said, he’s worried about terror attacks here in the U.S. as a result of a strike against Syria.

His wife agrees. But for her, the issue is timing. She believes that any retaliatory strike against Syria should have happened days ago.

“I think they’ve moved things around. The only thing this will do is kill civilians and give us a bad rap,” she said.

Leonard said he is certain he and his wife are not alone in their concerns.

 “More than 50 percent of American Jews feel this way,” he said.

That appears to indicate an extremely rare split in opinion between American Jews and the Israeli government. Private reports from Israel indicate the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu advocates a U.S. military strike on Syria.

As he and his wife prepared for Rosh Hashanah services Wednesday night, Goodelman admitted he was worried for his friends in Israel, some who moved there from Atlanta recently.

“I will be praying for peace,” he said.

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