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Yom Kippur Messages Stress Universal Meanings of the Day of Atonement

The universal meanings of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, were stressed by rabbinical and lay leaders today as American Jews prepared to observe the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

Rabbi Bernard Segal, executive director of the United Synagogue of America, the congregational arm of Conservative Jewry, declared in a holiday message that Yom Kippur “is the search for reconciliation between man and God and man and man,” He said this theme was “most appropriate for our generation” because “never before in history has man strayed so far from God.”

Rabbi Zev Segal, president of the Rabbinical Council of America, an Orthodox organization, said the great significance of Yom Kippur was that “it affirms Judaism’s basic principle that no sinner is hopeless, no evildoer without his chance for forgiveness.” According to Rabbi Joseph Karasick, president of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, Yom Kippur provides for individuals and all of mankind “a day of sober reflection in which to return to the basic principles of truth and goodness.”

Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld, president of the American Jewish Congress, used the occasion of Yom Kippur eve to urge Syrian authorities to free two Israeli nationals detained since their TWA airliner was hijacked by Arab commandos and flown to Damascus Aug. 29.

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