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We permit sinners to enter

Rabbi Harold Kushner tells about looking out at a full synagogue on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement–the day Jews fast and pray that God will forgive–"men and women who attend no other service of the year attend this one. People who usually arrive halfway through one of our lengthy services make sure to come on time tonight," he observes.

When all is ready and all are seated, Rabbi Kushner nods to the cantor who chants:

"By consent of the authorities in heaven and on earth, we permit sinners to enter and be part of the congregation."

"People crowd into that service," Kushner says, "because they know their shortcomings and they need a word of forgiveness and acceptance."

- Harold Kushner, How Good Do We Have to Be?: A New Understanding of Guilt and Forgiveness (Back Bay Books, 1997), p. 1.