The Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) is fast approaching and will be here Monday evening at sundown and all day Tuesday. This period is a time of intense introspection and culminates with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur). The ten inclusive days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as the Days of Awe and, like the Lenten period for Christians, it is a time of privation and marked by deep prayer. In many ways the election process in New Orleans and throughout the state as we prepare for the presidential election is much the same. A slate of candidates to determine some very important elected officials is ongoing. The First and Second Congressional Districts are up for review by voters. Recent First District winner Steve Scalise (R) is ready to take on a Democratic challenger, either Vinny Mendoza or Jim Harlan. Meanwhile, Second District incumbent William Jefferson (D), under indictment along with a number of family members, hopes to remain in office despite an overcrowded field of challengers including New Orleans City Councilman James Carter; state legislators Cedric Richmond, Byron Lee and Troy Carter; and former newscaster Helena Morena. Also to be determined is the new New Orleans District Attorney. There is no incumbent in that race due to the resignation of Eddie Jordan some months ago. Jordan's interim successor, Keva Landrum-Johnson, held on long enough to secure a judgeship and then also resigned. She has been replaced by Robert Freeman, who will give up his interim post when the new D.A. is selected. Choices range from former assistant district attorneys Ralph Capitelli and Linda Bizarro to Judge Leon Canizarro. Voters, like their Jewish counterparts, are thus undergoing a period of deep introspection and asking forgiveness from the Almighty as they prepare to cast their ballots next week. We are all hoping that the new choices made at the polls will not reflect badly on us and that we will enjoy an upcoming year of promise and renewal. I took the opportunity to vote early today at City Hall, deciding several judgeships and my Democratic choice for Congressman. It was fairly easy and took less than 10 minutes. These primary choices will decide who will be on the ballot when the final selections are made on the first Tuesday in November. The days will be crucial as Louisiana joins the nation is deciding who will lead our nation over the course of the next four years.