We know You are waiting for us. Yes, You are everywhere, Eternal Our God. But nowadays it is possible to talk to you only in places like this, Synagogues, shuls, surrounded by other Jews like us. Even here, it is difficult. The Torah says we cannot see You, but also, we cannot imagine You, o Eternal Our God. The Torah says that You are the Ruler of the Universe, but today human rulers, those who rule Countries and Superpowers, are hardly a model of integrity. We cannot imagine that You, Eternal Our God, rule the world as they rule their Countries. The Rabbis teach that You are a parental figure, a family member, to which we can turn in confidence. We look around us and we see many families, loving and caring, even here in this room... they are all far happier than us. How come that other families seem to have the strength and the serenity we have not. Our family life is not inspirational. It is difficult to think of You as a member of our family, Avinu Malkheinu. Our Tradition teaches that every year, on this day, you open the books, like an accountant of old, and examine the good deeds and the bad deeds of each one of us; and if we repent properly of transgressions and mistakes, then you grant us atonement and prosperity. This last piece is always the most difficult to believe, O Eternal Our God. We see too many evil people prosper, and too many righteous people suffer. So, we do not believe in this story of the reward for good actions anymore. Besides that, we struggle to think of You as an accountant, O Eternal Our God. Nowadays accountants don't open their books anymore, they work in open-space offices, on data that is processed by computer, and not by human beings. No, Avinu Malkheinu, really, we cannot imagine You as an accountant of old. Nor the Ruler of the Universe, neither a fatherly figure, not even the Supreme Judge that decides on our lives. We don't know who You are. We cannot even imagine You. We hold in our hands Machzorim, prayer books for this Holy Day. They are supposed to offer guidelines regarding how to address You. But they look so old and outdated. They are written in a language we don't understand, Hebrew, and we find it difficult to relate to the English translation. We have not lost faith in You, O Eternal Our God. We still think of ourselves as "of the Jewish faith". But we are losing faith in humanity. You have created the human beings in Your image, but no human being around us inspires faith in us. We don't trust anyone, anymore. We have no faith in the political leaders, either English or Israeli. They are corrupt and quarrelsome. They lack vision and courage. Our future depends on their decisions, in matters such as Brexit, climate change, the peace process in the Middle East etc. What will they decide? Do they even know what is going on? They look so inadequate. We don't have faith in our fellow human beings. We see anti-Semitism rising. It pops up casually, perhaps as a joke from a friend, (former friend), or a casual observation about the economy overheard on the street or on a bus. It comes from neighbours or acquittances. It is always unexpected. It hurts: who could ever think that that person was a racist. And now I have an anti-Semitic next-door neighbour. How can I trust him, or her, now? We have also lost faith in the future. We British Jews face an uncertain future and increasingly we think that this Country is not safe for us, not anymore. There may be an anti-Semite Prime Minister, perhaps in a few weeks. The economy does not look good and we already hear people blaming "the bankers" or "the elites". The life of our Jewish community is also marked by quarrels and arguments, whose origins sometimes we have even forgotten. In Brighton we are an ageing community, we are desperate for new ideas, to revitalise the Jewish life, yet we do our best to demotivate each other and downplay innovations. Rivalries and bitterness cut across the families. There are never-ending divisions and quarrels. There are acts of revenge and pettiness. There are so many wounds that will never be healed. We despair. You had so many great plans for human beings, Eternal Our God, and especially for us, Your people. But we have failed. We were supposed to be a light unto the nations. You have given us laws and principles to organise our communal life according to the prophetic ideals of freedom and justice. You have planted in our hearts the desire to build a nurturing, loving and caring family. You have created the human beings not to be alone, but to be part of a community, to help and support each other, to make our life, and the life of others, a blessing, worth living and celebrating. Yet, despair and isolation are prevalent. This is the reason why we feel You so distant, O Eternal our God, even here, in a Synagogue, even today on Yom Kippur, even now, on Kol Nidre. You had so many projects for us, so many great expectations, and we failed. We blame others. We judge them harshly, because we judge ourselves harshly. Here is the sad truth, so difficult to admit, O Eternal our God. We do not want to be judged by You, we do not want You around. We think of our potentials and we feel we have waisted them. We think of our dreams and we face our failures. We think of our mistakes and we fear there is no remedy, not anymore, now it's too late. You are not escaping us, Eternal Our God. You are everywhere. We are running away, looking for pretexts and excuses to avoid facing our failures and the consequences of our mistakes, of our misjudgements, of our laziness. We need You. We need Your help. We need Your support. Over the next 25 hours, we will pray, we will fast, and we will concentrate on our spirituality, on the great plans You had for us. We will try to understand why we have wasted your gifts and Your trust. We will try to learn from our mistakes, so that we can act and behave as good Jews and responsible human beings, worthy of the precious tradition we have inherited from the previous generation. We need courage and honesty. Courage, to look into ourselves, and honesty to admit what we could have done better. It is difficult, we don't like to talk about our failures, and we are afraid of Your judgement. Yet, we know that through sincere repentance You can help us to do better, so that at the end of this Yom Kippur we will truly be different, better people, and better Jews. Tonight, we want to talk to You in full sincerity. And sincerely we pray, and we ask You to Forgive us, Pardon us and Grant us Atonement.