All posts tagged: guiding principle

My American Thanksgiving – The Atlantic

My American Thanksgiving – The Atlantic

This Thanksgiving, three generations of my family will drink a champagne toast, eat the hors d’oeuvres that my mother used to make and my grandchildren now help produce, tackle the turkey that will succumb to my inexpert slicing, and then move on to the pecan and pumpkin pies. But first, as we have for decades now, we will read George Washington’s 1790 letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island. The letter includes his declaration that the U.S. government offers “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” It is often quoted, most recently by Deborah Lipstadt, the government’s special envoy to monitor and counter anti-Semitism, at the large pro-Israel rally in Washington, D.C., on November 14. We also read the initial letter of greeting to Washington from Moses Seixas, the warden of Newport’s Touro Synagogue (which we attended when I taught at the Naval War College). The occasion was the first president’s stately tour of the new country in the summer of 1790, when local dignitaries like Seixas would extend salutations and he …