Thanksgiving is an American holiday. It is different from many Christian, Jewish and Muslim holidays because it is a time when we thank God in a most ecumenical spirit. We thank God for the promise, the dream and the reality of America. You know the promise and the dream, but sometimes we close our eyes to the reality.
In America, many are homeless and many go to sleep with empty stomachs. Many are unemployed and many are unschooled. On Thanksgiving we recognize the blessings we have and the blessings that we owe to the disenfranchised.
America is a land of hope, but only when all of us pull together and create a land where none shall suffer. Such is not the hope in most countries in the world. In hardly any other place do we embrace a faith in a God Who expects us to do His work. That God Who expects Christians and Jews alike to feed the poor and clothe the naked is the God together we worship on Thanksgiving.
Our act of Thanksgiving is not just to eat a turkey meal with all the trimmings, but also to prepare a turkey meal for those who cannot afford to purchase one this year. So on this Sunday, November 20, come to Congregation Beth Ahm at 3 p.m. when rich and poor, homed and homeless will worship and break bread together in a meal of Thanksgiving.
Ecumenical Outlook is a weekly reflection by the leaders of Verona’s houses of worship. Rabbi Aaron Kriegel is the leader of Congregation Beth Ahm of West Essex, which is the host of this year’s Verona Community Thanksgiving Service. This year, there will be a Thanksgiving service at 3 p.m. and then guests from area homeless shelters will share a potluck Thanksgiving dinner, prepared by several Verona congregations, at 4 p.m.