President Biden Invokes Words of Rabbi Sacks at White House Reception

October 2, 2022
President joe biden speech white house sacks RH Rosh Hashanah

US President Joe Biden recalled the words of Rabbi Sacks as he addressed the first ever High Holy Days reception at the White House.

The event, held on Friday 30th September 2022, was hosted in the East Room of the White House and was also attended by the First Lady, the Vice President, and the second gentleman Doug Emhoff, who is Jewish, along with a group of local Rabbis, Jewish friends, and media. Renowned Israeli-American violinist Itzhak Perlman performed for attendees.

President Biden said: “The High Holy Days are a sacred time for introspection and renewal and repentance, and a time to ask for forgiveness, to mend our relationships with God and with our fellow men. The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, who passed away two years ago, once said that the most important lesson of the High Holy Days is nothing is broken beyond repair. It’s never too late to change and to be better. I’ve always believed that message and also believe it’s universal. We’ve emerged from one of our most difficult moments in our history – I believe nothing is broken beyond repair and there’s a lot we can do to change things and bring people together.”

These words and this message can be found in Rabbi Sacks' breathtaking book, "The Dignity of Difference" where he speaks of the power of forgiveness.

An accompanying tweet was also sent from the President's official account:

biden tweet

This is not the first time a member of the Biden family shared a message by Rabbi Sacks. One year ago, First Lady Jill Biden also quoted the words of Rabbi Sacks, while speaking at the Yeshivah Beth Yehudah Dinner event on the 26th October 2021, almost a year after he passed away. She had quoted his message of tikkun olam (healing our fractured world) "one life at a time, one act at a time, one day at a time."

Watch the full video clip of President Biden: