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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Nov. 20, 2012/ 6 Kislev, 5773

The dumbing down of Thanksgiving

By Rich Lowry




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Abraham Lincoln released his October 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation today, it would be panned by all sides. In the statement that is considered the beginning of the unbroken annual tradition of presidential Thanksgiving proclamations, Lincoln said that God had dealt "with us in anger for our sins." He recommended "humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience."

The words "sin" and "perverse" would set off the left as overly judgmental and embarrassingly archaic. The right would bristle at national self-criticism from the country's commander-in-chief (at a time of war, no less).

Lincoln had good reason to speak of perversity, of course. He was knee-deep in blood in a Civil War precipitated by half the country leaving the Union so it could protect slavery. But his proclamation was firmly within the American tradition.

The Thanksgiving proclamation at Charlestown, Mass., in 1676 referred to the Divine's "sore displeasure against us for our sins." The founding generation of presidents struck similar notes. In 1789, George Washington urged that we "unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions." John Adams in 1798 recommended that religious congregations "acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation."

This line carried through into the 20th century. Dwight Eisenhower spoke of the need to "bow before G0D in contrition for our sins." Both Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush acknowledged George Washington on "our shortcomings and transgressions." But any suggestion of national failings, let alone sin or perversity, has gone missing from the Thanksgiving proclamations of recent decades (and so has much of the majesty).

Without it, we lose any sense that we have an obligation to live up to a national standard that derives, if not from the God of the Bible, from the natural law. This has always been part of what makes America different from other nations. France will always be France no matter what, but America involves striving toward an ideal. The great political scientist Samuel Huntington, in rebutting the new left of the 1960s whose sense of the nation's sinfulness exceeded all reasonable bounds, stated it nicely. "Critics say that America is a lie because its reality falls so far short of its ideals," he wrote. "They are wrong. America is not a lie; it is a disappointment. But it can be a disappointment only because it is also a hope." Or as Lincoln put it in his famous phrase, we are "the almost chosen people."

Not surprisingly, President Barack Obama's Thanksgiving proclamations have been particularly pedestrian and perfunctory. God is lucky to get a mention or two. In his 2009 proclamation, the only reference to G0D came in a quote from George Washington. If his proclamation of America Recycles Day ("we rededicate ourselves to building a more sustainable future") invoked the divine providence somewhere, it wouldn't be so different in tone or content from his Thanksgiving proclamations.

What G0D has lost in prominence in Obama's statements has been gained by the American Indians, in a bow to multicultural pieties. His 2010 proclamation described how a spirit of Thanksgiving "brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe -- who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Mass., for thousands of years -- in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago." His proclamation last year urged the country "to remember the ways that the first Americans have enriched our nation's heritage, from their generosity centuries ago to the everyday contributions they make to all facets of American life." Near the end, that proclamation included the ringing, "Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the years to come."

From Lincoln's "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation" to Obama's "pay it forward" is a long way down.

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© 2012 King Features Syndicate

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