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Washington: 1:15:48 pm - November 27, 2014 - Jerusalem: 8:15:48 pm - Kislev 5, 5775

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Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation -- October 3, 1789

Following a resolution of Congress, President George Washington proclaimed Thursday the 26th of November 1789 a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer” devoted to “the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” Reflecting American religious practice, Presidents and Congresses from the beginning of the republic have from time to time designated days of fasting and thanksgiving (the Thanksgiving holiday we continue to celebrate in November was established by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and made into law by Congress in 1941).

In setting aside a day for Thanksgiving, Washington established a non-sectarian tone for these devotions and stressed political, moral, and intellectual blessings that make self-government possible, in addition to personal and national repentance. Although the First Amendment prevents Congress from establishing a religion or prohibiting its free exercise, Presidents, as well as Congress, have always recognized the American regard for sacred practices and beliefs. Thus, throughout American history, Presidents have offered non-sectarian prayers for the victory of the military and in the wake of catastrophes. Transcending passionate quarrels over the proper role of religion in politics, the Thanksgiving Proclamation reminds us how natural their relationship has been. While church and state are separate, religion and politics, in their American refinement, prop each other up.


Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789 By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then 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 trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789. Go. Washington

EU holds bitter debate over whether to recognize Palestine

European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (C) speaks during a debate on the recognition of Palestinian statehood, on November 26, 2014 (photo: AFP/FREDERICK FLORIN)

New EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini called on Israel and the Palestinians Wednesday to resume direct peace talks, as the European Parliament debated whether to recognize a Palestinian state.

“The sense of urgency is getting higher and higher in the absence of a political context,” Mogherini told lawmakers at the start of what she said was a “timely” debate. “There has to be a direct dialogue.”

The debate came as a growing number of European leaders and lawmakers are calling for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state.

In Wednesday’s debate, European Parliament members appeared sharply divided on what policy to endorse. One lawmaker branded Israel “a state of child killers and land robbers,” while another likened a Palestinian state to the Islamic State terrorist group.

A vote, originally expected Thursday, was put off until December.

Thanksgiving Day Forecast: Slippery Travel a Risk
in Northeast as Snowstorm Departs

A snowstorm pummeling the East has produced lengthy flight delays and treacherous travel on roadways Wednesday. As snow rapidly exits the Northeast into Thanksgiving Day, there will still be some travel trouble spots in the wake of the storm.

Aircraft displaced and delayed by the storm in the East may lead to additional flight delays and cancellations on Thanksgiving Day across the nation. Passengers may have to schedule a different flight on an alternate route to get to their destination.

In anticipation of delays or cancellations, several airlines, including US Airways, American and Delta, have announced they will waive change fees for passengers scheduled to fly into airports in the line of the storm.

For Accuweather's real-time updates on the storm, click here

Time running out for Gaza reconstruction;
Hamas and the PA yet to overcome their differences

Time is running out to get post-war reconstruction going in Gaza, which needs not only cement and bricks but also fundamental political change, the EU's representative said during a visit to the enclave on Wednesday.

Speaking at the opening of an exhibition of photographs taken during the July-August war, John Gatt-Rutter said he was painfully aware how much needed to be done to speed up the delivery of aid to Gaza's 1.8 million people.

"A long time has gone by without enough cement or enough materials coming in that will allow people to rebuild their houses," said the EU representative to the West Bank and Gaza.

"We do not have the luxury of waiting infinitely... There is a real need to move urgently and diplomatically and politically to try to work something out."

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