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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Thanksgiving Like No Other!

This Thanksgiving is different than most others - and what makes it different has only happened once in history, in 1888, and will not repeat again for over 79,000 years! This year Thanksgiving and Chanukah converge on the same day. The commonalities between Thanksgiving and Chanukah are few but potent.

•    Both are times of celebration, thanks and feasting. Both are times of celebration, thanks and feasting. Both are holidays of gratitude after facing adversity. While Americans are stuffing themselves with turkey, dressing, bisquits and pumpkin pie,  Jews globally will enjoy brisket, potato latkes, challah and sweet noodle kugel . American Jews and Christians alike have come up with several fusion recipes like turkey doughnuts!

•    Both are rooted in religion. Jews began to celebrate Chanukah, or  the Festival of Lights, 2178 years ago. Chanukah is the eight-day celebration commemorating Jewish military victory and the miracle of oil that lasted eight days when it should have only lasted one. Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest feast between Pilgrims and Indians that happened almost 400 years ago and while that might seem secular, the Pilgrims would never have been breaking bread with the Indians if they hadn’t first fled Europe in search of religious freedom.

•    Both were started by people who sought refuge in America. As Franklin Roosevelt said, “Freedom is what the Jews have found in America and it’s also what the Pilgrims found in America.”

•    Both are celebrated at home, with family. People don’t go to public parks or churches or synogogues on either of these holidays. Jews aren’t reciting long prayers in Hebrew and Americans aren’t going over the manifests of the Mayflower. These are both celebrations that involve spending the day, visiting with family and celebrating that closeness and love.

So, enjoy your turkey, your brisket, the pies and kugel – but most of all enjoy the fellowship of family. Happy Thanksgivukkah!

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