Israelis happily welcomed the Jewish New Year on Wednesday despite uncertainty and turmoil brewing on both its northern and southern borders.
Rosh Hashana, which begins at sundown, ushers in 10 days of Jewish soul-searching — known as the "Days of Awe" — capped by Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The two-day holiday commemorates the creation of the world — which this year reached the age of 5774, according to the Jewish calendar.
But all around Israel, the region is in upheaval. Egypt has experienced weeks of unrest since the military overthrew its Islamist president in July, and al-Qaida-linked fighters are roaming the lawless Sinai Peninsula on Israel's doorstep. In Syria, a bloody civil war that has killed more than 100,000 rages on as the U.S. weighs a military strike in reaction to the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.