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Message on the Observance of Yom Kippur, 1996

September 18, 1996

Warm greetings to everyone observing Yom Kippur, this holiest of Jewish holidays.

On this day, Jews across our nation and around the world gather to pray for forgiveness and to atone for any transgressions they may have committed against God and their fellow human beings. It is during this solemn observance that people who have been torn by differences seek reconciliation with friends, family, and neighbors in an earnest effort to improve their lives and to strengthen their relationships with others.

With its emphasis on collective responsibility, Yom Kippur is a powerful reminder that what we do as individuals has a profound effect on our entire community. The choices we make, whether shortsighted or wise, self-centered or generous, make a difference not only in our own lives but in the lives of our families, our community, and our nation.

Let us remember, therefore, that renewal is still within our reach, that humility before God will help us to recognize and conquer whatever is unworthy in our society and bring us closer to our Creator and to one another. Let us realize that whatever success we may attain will be meaningful only if it is used in service to others. And let this Yom Kippur be a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to family, to community, and to a world of peace and opportunity for all.

Best wishes for a blessed Yom Kippur.


William J. Clinton, Message on the Observance of Yom Kippur, 1996 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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