Saturday, November 10, 2012

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving

from the pages of Kadima, the newsletter of Congregation Adas Emuno:

From the desk of …                    
 Rabbi Barry Schwartz


 As Americans we celebrate a number of civic holidays.

Or do we?

What do most of us do to remember the fallen on Memorial Day, honor those who have served on Veteran’s Day, advocate for those who work on Labor Day, affirm our freedom on Independence Day, and express gratitude on Thanksgiving Day?

The decline in affiliation in both civic and religious organizations has diminished meaningful communal participation in all these days. Not to be crude, but for many these are merely shopping opportunities to catch the holiday sales. While this may boost the economy, I can’t help but think that we are missing something!

Consider joining in a joyful and ecumenical Thanksgiving celebration this year. Congregation Adas Emuno is proud to host the Annual Leonia Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Wednesday evening, November 21 at 8:00 PM. Clergy and choir members from all of the local congregations will join us, and the music promises to be truly special. Yes, I know it is the night before the holiday and many are busy cooking or traveling. But you need a break from the kitchen (the service is only an hour) and you’re better off hitting the road early the next day!

I enjoy meeting with my fellow spiritual leaders in The Leonia Clergy Association. We always talk about the challenges we have in common. But we also share our blessings. To enhance the sense of community we feel, the Association is looking to sponsor a spring concert that will tap the talents of the diverse musical artists in our midst.

A National Day of Thanksgiving was first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789. The tiny Jewish community in America joined in the call to celebrate, and we have continued to mark the occasion as proud and grateful Jewish Americans ever since. One year later Washington wrote his famous letter to the congregation in Newport, Rhode Island (the Touro synagogue) affirming the highest ideals of this nation, “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance,” and concluding with a verse from Hebrew scripture, “ever one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.”

Personally and communally, we have so much to be thankful for.

No comments:

Post a Comment