Brazilian President Luiz Inácio joined the Jewish community in ushering in the Jewish New Year with the blowing of the shofar and the distribution of challah dipped in honey.

Clad in a gray suit and sporting a yarmulke, Inácio received Jack Terpins, president of the Latin-American Jewish Congress, and a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbinical delegation in honor of the new year. Rabbi Yosef Schildkraut of Beit Chabad Itaim in S. Paulo gave Brazil's leader an introduction to the meaning of Yom Kippur and presented him with a yad, a pointer used by those reading from a Torah scroll.

"The Torah is what guides every Jew in their life and the index finger on the hand is connected to the heart," the rabbi told Inácio before turning to the Seven Noahide Laws applicable to all mankind. "So too this hand should symbolically represent that the president should follow in G‑d's commandments to all humans."

During a lighter moment, Brazil's chief executive attempted to blow the shofar, but to no avail. Schildkraut stepped in soon after, prompting Inácio to comment that he needed to grow his beard a little longer in order to become an expert at shofar blowing.

In an address, the president thanked the Jewish communal leaders.

"It is a great honor for me," he said. "I join you in your happy occasion and the happy occasion of the Jewish people in honor of the Jewish New Year.

"During my life, I learned to admire your heritage, [and] this admiration becomes greater year by year," he continued. "Our meeting is at an auspicious time, as it was set for the Ten Days of Repentance. These days are days of forgiveness, days that every individual has to search in his deeds and ask for forgiveness on all those mistakes that he did, and ultimately to renew his commitment to the correct path and befitting the path of righteousness."

Rabbi Shabsi Alpern of Chabad-Lubavitch of Brazil blessed the president, wishing him a sweet new year.