On the Jewish High Holidays

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
September 21, 2015

Teresa and I extend our heartfelt best wishes to Jewish communities around the world on the occasion of Yom Kippur and the conclusion of the High Holidays. Yom Kippur is the most solemn of Jewish holy days: a time of profound prayer, repentance, fasting, and self-examination. We wish all those observing the holiday a meaningful fast.

The High Holidays are a special time when Jews pause to reflect on the past year and recommit themselves for the year ahead. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, provides an opportunity for spirituality, prayer, and contemplation; for families and friends to gather in worship; and for a re-dedication to core values of the Jewish people -- to pursue justice, perform acts of kindness, lift up those who are less fortunate, and advance the cause of peace. It also serves as a reminder for people of all faiths about the importance of humility and the need for charity and compassion toward those in material or spiritual need.

On the occasion of the end of the Days of Awe, we wish the Jewish communities in the United States and across the globe a happy and healthy start to the new year of 5776. Shana tova.