When Rabbi Mitchell Ackerson blew the shofar this past Rosh Hashanah, it reverberated throughout one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. More than 100 Jewish members of the U.S. forces stationed in Iraq attended the High Holiday services at the former Iraqi dictator's Baghdad compound.
They seemed shocked and awed, not least by the echo.
Then under a late afternoon sun, the group performed the customary Tashlich ceremony outside the palace, casting pieces of bread representing sins into a private lake once owned by the Iraqi dictator's sons, Uday and Qusay.
As the Oct. 7 recall election enters its frantic home stretch, the evening of Sept. 26 found Gov. Gray Davis sitting on the bimah at Stephen S. Wise Temple in Bel Air, participating in Rosh Hashanah services.
This was no last-ditch campaign ploy -- Davis has attended High Holiday services at the synagogue for years and, according to election experts, most Jews seem likely to vote "no" on the recall to keep the beleaguered governor in power. Despite Davis' lack of charisma and reputation as a fundraising machine beholden to monied interests, many consider him a trusted supporter of Jewish causes who deserves to keep his job.