Thanksgiving for Diversity: Invite friends to focus prayers

This year, let’s express Thanksgiving for diversity! It’s a simple yet powerful—and timely—idea in our deeply divided America. Plus, the idea of celebrating diversity at Thanksgiving is in keeping with the “real” origins of our American holiday.

Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? The historical institution, Plimouth Plantation in Massachusetts, has become America’s leading authority on that “first” Thanksgiving in 1621. Each year, thousands of visitors tour the Plimouth exhibition on Thanksgiving, which opened in 2002. The Plantation staff describes the origins of Thanksgiving this way: “By the English calendar it was autumn 1621. For the Native Wampanoag it was Keepunumuk, the time of the harvest. In a small colony on the edge of the sea, more than 90 Wampanoag people shared food with 52 English people. Over the centuries, the story of this gathering was lost, recovered, transformed and retold again. More than 200 years after it occurred, this three-day celebration would suddenly become known as the ‘First Thanksgiving,’ an American myth in many ways and, much later, what would become one of America’s most beloved holidays was born!”

Across southeast Michigan for Thanksgiving 2010, interfaith networks of men and women are organizing special community-wide interfaith Thanksgiving services. But, most of our online readers don’t live in Michigan—and we are encouraging you to join in this effort wherever you live, this year.

Thanksgiving for diversity!

Most weeks, this Friendship and Faith website publishes stories about friendships that cross cultural boundaries. For a few weeks, in preparation for Thanksgiving 2010, we are going to publish women’s thoughts about why we are personally thankful for diversity.

Why are YOU thankful for diversity?

Email us at [email protected] with your answer to that question!

Judy Lipson answers the question this way:
Diversity allows for differences among people, which is very good. It helps me to know what other options there are. Just because I don’t know it, and live it, doesn’t mean that there might not be value for others—even for me.

Send in your response to the question!

WISDOM co-founder Gail Katz answered the question this way: “I’m very thankful for diversity because it has enriched my life and expanded my world. Coming from a childhood where I felt like the ‘other,’ where my ‘diversity’ was a negative for me—now, I get a spiritual high every time I interact with someone from a different faith tradition, race, or culture. Turning that negative into such a wonderful positive has been a life force for me—from my career teaching English as a Second Language to immigrant students to my middle school program entitled Religious Diversity Journeys, and now with WISDOM, the InterFaith Leadership Council, the Jewish/Chaldean Social Action Endeavor, and the World Sabbath as exciting initiatives in diversity. Embracing diversity has changed my life, and has shown me a very wonderful and spiritual path back to my own roots that I rejected as a child. I am VERY thankful for the diversity in this world—a world that is vibrant and ever-changing because of interfaith, intercultural connections and interactions. I can’t imagine living in a world where we were all the same faith—the same race—and celebrated all our holidays and traditions in the same way. That kind of homogenized world would lose the world’s true sparkle!!”

Please help us with Friendship and Faith!

As readers, we welcome you to contribute your own stories of cross-cultural friendship. (NOTE: There are helpful tips under “We’d like to publish your story”)

You can help in many ways! Purchase our book “Friendship and Faith,” which is packed with dozens of stories by women about their real-life experiences with cross-cultural friendships. Bookmark this page—or subscribe via the link in upper right. Share these stories with friends. (See links below.)

(Originally published at

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