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Statement on the Observance of Yom Kippur, 1994

September 06, 1994

I am pleased to extend greetings to all who are observing Yom Kippur, the most solemn of Jewish holidays.

The holy day of Yom Kippur recognizes that all human beings are capable of transgression and of atonement. Judaism teaches that every person, from time to time, fails to act in accordance with his or her highest principles. Yom Kippur offers worshippers the chance to seek forgiveness for sins committed during the past year and to reassess personal behavior. Beyond this, the Day of Atonement urges the repair of torn relationships and encourages treating all people with kindness. It is a day intended for rectifying mistakes and for recommitment in a journey leading from thought to deed.

As we strive to recognize changes that must be made in our own lives and for our entire world, we turn to each other for the strength we seek. Though the challenges of our world are formidable, and ancient animosities are not easily overcome, the past year has shown us time and again that peace is within our power.

Let this day serve as a call to make the changes in our lives and in our communities that peace and prosperity require. Let us rededicate ourselves to caring for others and to teaching our children the lessons of compassion. In the spirit of reconciliation and renewal that were so evident in the Israeli-Jordanian peace initiative, let us work toward building a brighter world for the generations to come.

Best wishes to all for an observance full of meaning and hope.

NOTE: A message identical to this advance text was also made available by the White House. Yom Kippur was observed on September 15.

William J. Clinton, Statement on the Observance of Yom Kippur, 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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