Thanksgiving Sermon of Rabbi Gluck, undated

Righteousness exalteth a people; but the disgrace of nations (? Hebrew) is sin:

This, my friends, is the object of our contemplation, which we have assembled in this sacred and solemn place, dedicated to the God of righteousness and justice, to add a portion of incense that rises to day [sic] as a sweet savor from our national altar, to the God of Israel -- the universal God of humanity.

Again we have congregated to mingle our voices with those of the millions of the people, this great nation consists of; to solemnly express our sincere gratitude, for the manifold blessings He has showered upon upon [sic] us in our honor and national affairs -- and to implore this grace and mercy for our future existence.

The day is indeed conspicuous in itself. Although no such a day is to be found in wahtsoever a religious code of ours. Although not endowed with the sanctity of revelation, and in all probability the outgrowth of a heathenish(?) nation; however, to my mind and knowledge, there is no day more holy than the day of Thanksgiving in its present aspect. This day, unlike others liberates us from the narow [sic] limitations of creed, sectarianism and partizanship [sic]. The fact, that it belongs to no Religious denomination is the very cause of its true sacredness. It belongs to the whole nation, that is neither Jewish nor Christian, nor Mohametan(?). It is the common propperty [sic] of its free citizens, who stand all alike before the Laws of its free constitution. To day [sic] we lay aside all differences, that divide us into religions sects and denominationalism. To day [sic] all creeds are united in one general service dedicated to God of all -- for the good and prosperity of all. Jew and Gentile, Mohametan(?) or Hindo(?) Republican, Democrat and populist all that have the priviledge [sic] to lay claims upon the rights and citizenship of this our blessed country, clasp hands with each other in the cause of prosperity of our land, which is the leading factor in liberty and civilization among all the nations on the globe.

If we can see aught in this day, and if it has any signifcance at all; we must see, that its underlying principle must become instrumental in bringing about the realization of that universal peace, which our seers have cherished, and never ceased to proclaim. Each thanksgiving day is but another brief stored away in the great storehouse of time, to the glorious temple of humanity, wherin all Gods children shall find rest and peace from the long struggle on the high roads to perfection.

Could we but remove the curtain, and were we permitted to glance into that mysterious world that was hidden from the eye every mortal or could we at least find the mysterious Elijah to inquire of him as to how God is pleased with it -- we would undoubtedly have his reply. God rejoiceth, saying (? Hebrew) My children have perpetuated me as the common father of all men.

But have we indeed any cause this year for thanksgiving? This question, I an afraid, lingers in the minds of many, even though it does not pass their lips. This year, undoubtedly, has shattered to nothing many a proud prospect. They are not many who found their expectations realized, while those are in the decided majority, who would draw a breath of relief, could they but cherish the assurances, that the worst is passed.

Why then, thanskgiving? This question, however, shows that the true philosophy of gratitude is not understood by us. For even should the Rabbi of old whose password was (? Hebrew) ? for the good -- and it is through enough that by contract we learn to appreciate -- had it not been for the darkness of the night we would lose the gratifying power of appreciating the brilliancy of light.

But this ? can never satisfy the stomach of the hungy will not stuff the holes through which the cold winds whistle and how many thousands of homes -- have been thus rendered this year ------ how many thousands to day [sic] ask for their daily food and cannot find, thousands upon thousand whose children pray for covering against the bitter wind, and parents eager to ? cannot cover their nakedness.

[That seems to end abruptly, but then there is some more writing with it, on a different kind of paper, which follows here.]

Thanksgiving, was the password that reigned supreme, in the length and breath [sic] of our land. Gratitude, was the object of contemplation in every church trhoughout our country. Turkey, wine, cranberry sauce and nice pies have adorned the tables of every American household in commemoration of sweets in the early history. Those who are less fortunate were too remembered by the more fortunate -- and had good cause for thanksgiving.

We, too, have to some degree added our portion of incense to that which rose from our national altar to God of Israel. The universal God of humanity.

We, too, have to some extent mingled our voices of praise with those of the millions of people which this great nation consists of -- for the manifold blessings that providence has bestowed upon us in our honor and national affairs.

On some people and ? the day has but a bitter or no effect at all. They look upon it from a commercial point of view. They close up business because all do so. They probably feel sorry that they have to do it. They seek consolation at card tables. Others pour libations of beer or other intoxicant to Bacchus -- in honor of the day.

Good things are rare, is an old saying, and indeed, there are very few who observe the day ? properly. And had it not been for those few selected ones, the day could just as well be admitted to fall into oblivion. They are thus assembled in their respective churches and chant hymns of praise to the Bountiful giver of all-knowing, that there are some who were yesterday satisfied with a morsel of bread -- enjoy to day [sic] a hearty meal -- through their generosity and good will.

But there is still another class(?) to ? the observer(?) is superfluous(?). That class, with regard it must say is largely to be found among our people. They are, the so called orthodox among us. What, a Thanksgiving service? A Jewish service can you find it in the Shulchan(?) Aruch(?) Was it thundered forth from Sinai? Was it thought by the Rabbi of old? A Hebrew Republican ?, because the democrats have not gratified my selfish language, is appropriate. But a Heberw service on thanksgiving is unjewish. Poor, ignorant, blinded Jews. And are we the so called reform Jews free of that notion. Do you know that we had a thanksgiving service. Yess [sic], indeed, you know, becuase have you not withheld your children from the service. And you where have you been? Did you thank God at the card table when you had four aces? Did you affirm the unity of God when you had a one spot(?)? Or have all at once become Orthodox. Well, ? you know that I can make (? Hebrew) as good as any orthodox reader.

Come all to morrow [sic] morning I will call you up one after the other. Your absence in the house of God on Sabbath is unjewish . Your absence at the Thanksgiving service is both unjewish and unamerican. It is true, that, from the Jewish standpoint, every day must be a day of thanksgiving we open our friday [sic] evening service with (? Hebrew). It is good to be thankful to God, and our daily prayer has such a passage as (? Hebrew). Enter his gates(?) with thanksgiving his courts(?) with praise. However this day proclaimed by the head of our nation from the executive mansion of the ? is as iportant as a command of Sinari(?) (? Hebrew) -- the Law of the country(?) Law is a real Jewish precept, that ? every religious command.