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A Prayer for Thanksgiving

A Prayer for Thanksgiving

A Thanksgiving Prayer by Rabbi Rick Jacobs

We give thanks.  As we join together to celebrate with friends and family this Thanksgiving, we acknowledge the legacy of those who came before us, in appreciation of religious freedom during this holiday inspired by the harvest in biblical times. Many of us have the privilege of gathering in comfortable homes, with an abundance of food, and the love of our family to go around. And yet, there are far too many who do not share in these privileges.

We remember.  We are a nation of immigrants. So many of our families remember coming to America on boats, leaving behind oppression and often poverty as well. We came from many places, from many cultures, yet we came with a common dream, to find a home, to live in freedom, to be accepted, and to know prosperity. Some of our ancestors came by boats against their will as part of the slave trade. Yet all of us brought with us few possessions but many cultural treasures including a myriad of languages, customs, stories, and faiths.

We reaffirm. Before many of our ancestors traveled across oceans from London, Amsterdam, Odessa, Cairo, Kyoto or Port-au-Prince to form the country we have today, Native Americans were and continue to be protectors and stewards of this great land. In the aftermath of the Civil War, in his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln counseled the nation: we commend to God’s “tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and Union.”

And we pray.  May we celebrate this great American festival renewed in our commitment to peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs is the president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), the largest Jewish movement in North America, with almost 850 congregations and nearly 1.5 million members. An innovative thought leader, dynamic visionary, and representative of progressive Judaism, he spent 20 years as the spiritual leader of Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale, NY. Deeply dedicated to global social justice issues, he has led disaster response efforts in Haiti and Darfur. Learn more about Rabbi Rick Jacobs.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs

Published: 11/22/2016

Categories: Jewish Life, Practice, Prayers & Blessings
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