Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, and in many ways, my favorite one of the year. It is the one day when, regardless of our background, ethnicity or religion, we pause to give thanks to whatever supreme being we worship to celebrate the many blessings we have in our lives, and give thanks for the opportunity to live in a nation that affords us freedom and the blessings of liberty.
Cherished loved ones, good health and happiness, successful careers — all of these are things for which we can, and should, be grateful. Reflecting on these blessings periodically is healthy, and makes the many challenges, stresses and pressures we all face in our daily lives a little bit easier to deal with.
Collectively, as a community, that’s just as important. Despite troubling times in the world and myriad challenges and issues facing us, there are many things our communities can be thankful for.
While rising costs of everything from food to clothing to other daily necessities are making it harder for all of us to make ends meet, so many people of all ages still find it in their hearts to give back. Residents are organizing or taking part in food drives, clothing drives and other programs that lend a helping hand to local families in need. Whether it’s large organizations like Island Harvest providing food to over 300,000 hungry Long Islanders; others, like Carroll’s Kitchen, cooking and delivering meals to the homebound; your participation in a local Kiwanis drive to support a community cupboard; or even Plainview’s St. Pius X Youth Group, which runs a Families Feeding Families Food Drive, working with two churches in Bellmore and East Meadow to help provide everything struggling families need to make their own Thanksgiving dinners, the outpouring of kindness and compassion is heart-warming and inspiring.
During a tumultuous and dangerous time in the wake of Hamas’ horrific, barbaric terrorist attack against Israel, good people are watching out for one another. They’re sending a loud, clear message that antisemitism — or any other kind of hate or violence against someone because of their religion — will not be tolerated in our community. That message can never be reinforced enough.
Steve Rhoads represents New York’s 5th Senate District.