Ronald Reagan picture

Message on the Observance of the Jewish High Holy Days

September 25, 1984

The year 5745 of the Jewish calendar is about to be ushered in with the soul-stirring blast of the shofar. And while the ram's horn is traditionally meant to summon Jews to prayer and reflection, its message echoes beyond the walls of Jewish places of worship and affects others as well.

Nancy and I hear its call and are reminded by it that so much in our American heritage is drawn from the religious values enunciated during the Jewish High Holy Days. The liturgy of Rosh Hashanah and Yore Kippur emphasizes both the moral obligations men have to their Maker and the ethical responsibilities we owe to our fellows. Fundamentally, America stands for the same principles. Indeed, these values have been derived in large part from the Jewish tradition which is thereby inextricably linked to our American spiritual heritage.

The ties between the Jewish and American traditions run deep and are related in no small way to the special relationship that exists between the United States and Israel—a relationship based on the common spiritual and ethical values encompassed in the shofar's call to prayer.

At this time of introspection and renewal, we extend our very best wishes that your prayers will be fulfilled. We share your hopes that during the coming year world understanding and peace will triumph over prejudice and violence so that we may say with the Prophet Isaiah, "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall men learn war any more."


Ronald Reagan, Message on the Observance of the Jewish High Holy Days Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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