MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, November 16th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Up next: WORLD Commentator Cal Thomas says we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to Jewish history.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: We have again entered the season of gratitude. You remember gratitude, don’t you? It was what we expressed before we became entitled.
Last Saturday was Veterans Day, and many Americans thanked those who served in the military and have protected our freedoms. Next week is Thanksgiving when some people will thank God for the many blessings He has bestowed on our country. Despite our rebellion against His commands, there is still much for which to be thankful.
Recently, we’ve seen the height of ingratitude in new ways around the world. Some anti-Israel and anti-Jewish protesters are saying vulgar things about the Jewish people and calling for the elimination of the democratic Jewish state. It’s true, Jewish history isn’t the story of a perfect people, but critics might benefit from having some Jewish contributions explained to them.
It was the Jews who gave us the Old Testament, which is full of information about God and wisdom for how we can live successful lives. A Jew – Jesus of Nazareth – is introduced in what Christians call the New Testament and lays out His plan for the salvation of all who believe in Him.
There was physicist Albert Einstein. Jonas Salk created the first polio vaccine and Albert Sabin followed with the first oral polio vaccine. Selman Waksman created Streptomycin and coined the word antibiotic. Gabriel Lippmann discovered color photography, Baruch Blumberg discovered the origin and spread of infectious diseases, and G. Edelman discovered the chemical structure of antibodies. Anthony Epstein identified the first cancer virus. Maria Mayer uncovered the structure of atomic nuclei, and Julius Mayer discovered the law of thermodynamics. Isaac Singer invented the first affordable sewing machine, and Joseph Pulitzer established the famous prize that honors journalists, literature, music and art.
Broadway would be dark and musical theater dead without the contributions of Jews. These included George and Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, Kurt Weill, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Neil Simon, and many more, including Marvin Hamlisch.
Jewish artists often created beauty, sometimes out of tragedy. These include Marc Chagall, whose work hangs in the Israeli Knesset. There are many other noteworthy Jewish painters and sculptors.
If you enjoy taking a break from work on weekends, credit the Jews (see Exodus 20:8). Jews also improved society and culture with their use of ideas like the census, animal rights, asylum, equality under the law, our courts, crop rotation, and monetary damages. Ignorance allows dictators and terrorists to pursue their objectives, while a properly informed public preserves and protects what is important to a free and civilized society.
If you believe such things are important, offer some gratitude, not hostility, to your Jewish neighbors.
I’m Cal Thomas.
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