2004-11-12 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

from page 40

On Thursday, November 25, 2004 at 10:30 a.m., Temple Beth El, located at 121-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, will hold an interfaith Thanksgiving Service.

This special service continues a wonderful tradition which began 77 years ago.

In 1927, the First Congregational Church and Temple Beth El joined together and provided a time for people of all faiths to come together in thanksgiving.

Each year Temple Beth El and the First Congregation Church alternate sites for the Thanksgiving Service. It is a wonderful and beautiful tradition. Please join us on Thanksgiving Day for this event at Temple Beth El.

Thanksgiving is a meaningful and joyous holiday. It gives us an opportunity to pause in our busy lives and to thank God for the simple pleasures. On Thanksgiving we reflect on the past and look with hope to the future.

History tells us that the first Thanksgiving in America was held in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This Thanksgiving celebration was reflective of other harvest feasts including the Jewish Succoth, the Greek mid-June Smophorian celebration and the ancient Roman Cerealian rites celebrated in mid-April according to the American Jewish Historical Society (2004).

History notes that our first President, George Washington designated November 26, 1789 as a public day to thank God for his many favors. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln was the first President to designate the last Thursday in November, as a national day to give thanks. President Roosevelt moved the observance to the fourth Thursday in November so that businesses could lengthen the Christmas shopping days. In 1941, Thanksgiving was dedicated as a national holiday.

Today as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we find our country divided on many issues. The election season appears to have been particularly acrimonious. However, we can be thankful that the election process itself has been completed.

As Rabbi Blaine noted in his Thanksgiving remarks at the First Congregational Church last year, we can all be grateful for the fact that “America has a cohesive national ethos of common ideas, political institutions, culture and faith – a nation striving for freedom and democracy.

This has always been our best hope!”

This continues to be our hope in our Thanksgiving prayer.

This year at Thanksgiving let us all join together and pray for peace.

On Saturday, December 4th, Temple Beth El will hold its annual “Righteous Person Award”. The 2004 award will be given posthumously to the four chaplains who gave their lives on the Dorchester on February 4, 1943, during World War II—- Rabbi Alex Goode, Rev. Clark Poling, Father John Washington and Rev. George Lansing Fox.

This event is commemorated each year with special prayers at St. Francis de Sales.

A monument recognizing the significant sacrifice of these four chaplains is erected at Beach 129 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard outside St. Francis de Sales Church. The Right Reverend Monsignor Jerome J. Reddy was the pastor at St. Francis subsequent to World War II and he officiated at the installation of this memorial.

This year at the ceremony on Saturday, December 4, Rabbi Blaine will present Monsignor Martin Geraghty and St. Francis de Sales with a plaque honoring them for displaying a remembrance of the sacrifice of the four chaplains.

Dan Kurzman, who is a recognized author and journalist, has written a book about the four chaplains entitled “No Greater Glory”. He will discuss the findings of his book at the Temple Beth El service. Dan Kurzman will also receive an award at the ceremony on December 4th.

This book will be the focus of a December 10th TV special.

I hope that you will join us on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 25 at 10:30 a.m at Temple Beth El at 121-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard for the Interfaith Service.

I also look forward to seeing you on Saturday, December 4, at 10 a.m., at Temple Beth El for the Righteous Person Award.

Congratulations to Harold Graham, owner of The Dragon’s Den Florist on his being honored for his community service at the 100 Precinct Council breakfast. Graham is a positive force in our community. He provided the most magnificent floral arrangements for the Peninsula Hospital Dinner.

The Peninsula Hospital annual dinner at the Sands was another outstanding success. Kudos to Robert Levine and Commissioner Miele for their exceptional leadership of this important institution.

 The Emerald Isle Immigration Center held its annual dinner at the Astoria Manor.

We attended.

It is a pleasure to serve on the Board of Directors of this important organization.


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