Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are "opportunities for reflection," President Barack Obama said in a statement issued Thursday.
Jewish tradition teaches that during this period "we're called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should," the president said.
"I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another," he said. "And as a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering, and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies -- including the State of Israel."
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday wished Israeli President Shimon Peres "a happy new year to you and the entire Israeli nation," The Jerusalem Post reported, citing a statement from Peres' office.
"I know the past year has been a difficult year, but we mustn't give up ... we must continue to strive for peace," Peres replied.