Thanksgiving morning, here in the US. I am thankful for many things.

U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland complains of a “meltdown in security” in Darfur that prevents humanitarian aid workers from reaching the three million genocide survivors who have fled to refugee camps. * * * The anti-Syrian, Christian Lebanese politician Pierre Gemayel was assassinated. His grandfather, of the same name, founded the Phalange, a Maronite Christian political party. The assassination sparked renewed tension with Syria. * * * The Israeli city of Sderot has been repeatedly hit with missiles this week, killing two Israelis. Israel has responded with a military incursion into the Gaza Strip, killing several Palestinians. * * * The situation in Iraq deteriorates by the day. Several hours ago, as of this writing, over 140 people died in coordinated bombings in Baghdad’s Sadr City neighborhood. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said earlier this week that the US is “trapped in Iraq”. * * * The number of terrorist and insurgent incidents in Afghanistan quadrupled in 2006, as did the number of related deaths, according to a recent report by the joint coordinating and monitoring board of the Afghan government, the UN, and foreign interested parties. The death toll includes an estimated 1,000 civilians.

On the domestic front, President Bush has selected the director of an organization that opposes contraception to head the federal office that oversees family planning programs. While it’s not in the same category as war in the Middle East, it’s the final absurdity that stops me in my tracks. Just who is in charge, anyway?

And then, once in a while, something staggers me the other way. I was about to leave to celebrate Thanksgiving at my parents’ house when I stumbled across this news item, emailed to me by a friend two days ago.

“In a landmark ruling, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the government Tuesday to recognize same-sex marriages performed abroad. … The significant changes are that [same-sex couples] will now get the same tax breaks as a married couple and be able to adopt children, [legal expert Moshe] Negbi said. Israeli law stipulates a couple must be married to adopt a child. ‘The marriages of same-sex couples who marry in places like Canada where the law recognizes such marriages, will also be recognized in Israel, and they will be registered as married here,’ Negbi said.” — “Israel orders gay marriage recognition”, Steve Weizman, AP, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

What a difference this will make to same-sex parents in Israel and to aspiring immigrants to Israel. What a difference it makes to anyone concerned about family rights in Israel or anywhere in the world. What a difference it makes to me on a very personal level.

I have had so many blessings this year. Others get genocide.

I sit here, trying to interpret this before I leave for Thanksgiving dinner. I may be sitting here for a while.