Synagogue Council of America Urges Nations to Abide by Precepts of Day of Atonement

The Synagogue Council of America–representing Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jewry in this country–today issued the following statement on the occasion of Yom Kippur:

“Yom Kippur is an occasion for spiritual renewal. It is instinct with this hope that men and nations can begin anew. The Synagogue Council of America calls upon the entire household of Israel to rededicate itself to the message of Yom Kippur.

“It has been the mission of Israel to remind men of this hope and to call the world to repentance. Perhaps never before has the need for such a call been more urgent. The current localized but bitter strife and the threat of imminent world conflict are proof that humanity needs a new turn, a return to its spiritual moral source. The lust for power and the trust in new, ever more frightful instruments of destruction, have brought our planet to the age of the abyss of doom. The only alternative to all-out self-annihilation is complete repentance and regeneration.

“We of the household of Israel have borne more than our share of the brunt of the world’s hatred of religious values. Both anciently and recently we have been witness to the failure of a godless society. It is for all of mankind that we utter the central prayer of this Season of Penitence: ‘Turn us o Lord to Thee and we shall return.’

“Men must in humility confess that alone they are unlikely to convert the power and passion for destruction into devotion and creative energy for rebuilding. We need the fervor of faith and the grace of God’s mercy. The Synagogue Council urges all mankind to respond to its appeal. We further urge that men and nations translate into action the significance of the Day of Atonement: that of seeking reconciliation with God and fellow men and striving unitedly and earnestly to build a world order founded on freedom and justice and peace.”

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