Rabbi Sidney S. Guthman, 33°

The individual or nation that loses the capacity to be thankful for the Lord’s bounty is in a sorry plight. Let us meet the challenge of gratitude.

Conditions are seldom so bad that there is nothing to be thankful for, if only you examine your position honestly. Certainly, we Americans should be grateful this Thanksgiving Day 1998. True, our taxes may be rising, and the international horizon is filled with disaster and foreboding. Nevertheless, we have the highest standard of living in the world and are internally strong despite media-hyped scandals and political infighting. Our churches and synagogues, like our schools and universities, are well attended. The world looks to us for leadership. More important than anything else, we are a free people. Thankfulness, however, carries with it its own challenge to use properly the gifts and advantages for which we are thankful.

Our standard of living is high, but what about our standard of life? We are prosperous economically and mighty physically. How strong are we spiritually? We must oppose the forces of tyranny that still plague parts of the world. Despotism can never best democracy, and slavery can never prevail over freedom.

May next Thanksgiving Day see a world fully at peace, purged of war and the threat of war. In any event, may it see America completely in possession of its soul, the same soul which came to it at its glorious birth, that soul which has been the inspiration of liberty-loving people everywhere, the soul whose other name is Freedom, and whose origin is God.

Sidney S. Guthman
is a past member of the Civil Service Commission of Long Beach, California. He is the former Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of California. Recently, the Long Beach Veterans Administration Medical Center awarded him a special merit citation for his work as Chaplain, and he is Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation Sholom, Leisure World, California. A longtime member of the Long Beach Scottish Rite Bodies and Chaplain of Al Malaikah Shrine Temple, Rabbi Guthman was recently appointed Chaplain of the Long Beach Police Department, the first time a Rabbi had been so honored.