While Jews were able to enjoy the rare, simultaneous celebration of Thanksgiving and Chanukah this year, Judaism has long been had something in common with the American holiday.
There is something much deeper to “Thanksgivukkah” than sweet potato latkes. It is an opportunity to celebrate the blessing of our dual identity as Americans and Jews.
The freedom food of chocolate should star in desserts for Chanukah and Thanksgiving. Puritans seeking asylum in North America and Jews hiding from the Inquisition in New Spain (Mexico) had their first encounters with chocolate in the 17th century. Chocolate paves the religious freedom trail.
It’s taken American Jews a good century to fully absorb the miraculous idea that this country is unlike any other that Jews have experienced. After 2,000 years of feeling insecure no matter where we pitched our tents, the people of Moses finally found safe harbor in the land of Lincoln — the land of freedom, human rights and justice for all.
When people ask me to describe the God I believe in, I often start by using the image of a flame. We are taught that each of us has a divine spark within us.
Thanksgiving is the great American holiday, a secular fete originally celebrating the crops we harvested, now celebrating not just the harvest, but also our freedom, our democracy and our way of life.
It has a clever, catchy name. It will allegedly occur once every 78,000 years. It has inspired dozens of fusion recipes like sweet potato latkes with cranberry applesauce.
This year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide: Chanukah is celebrated for eight days by candle-lighting, gift exchanges and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom, commemorating a miraculous event at the Temple in Jerusalem, while the Thanksgiving meal reminds us of our American heritage.
It took a lot of stress and hard work to come up with this hassle-free turkey. Don’t think I didn’t personally slave just because I say it’s the easiest ever.
Last Sunday, my job was to make stuffing for 400 people. I said I’d do it because there’s a part of me that prefers to forget that it’s been 25 years since I was a caterer, and I assumed it would be as easy now as it was then.
Now that the parade of Jewish holidays has passed, it’s time to start planning for the impending arrival of an unprecedented hybrid: “Thanksgivukah” is coming!
Sitting down to the well-set table every November, even though it is filled with family and food, I always feel that something is missing -- a Jewish connection to the Thanksgiving story.
When my boys were younger we had hot cider for them and the neighborhood kids after a hard day playing in the leaves. Now that my kids are out of the house and all I’m doing all the raking (yeah, right) I’ve decided to invite other “parents of children too old to do the chores we don’t want to do” over to share stores of epic piles of laundry that engendered shock and awe to all that beheld them.
Several organizations in Israel held Thanksgiving dinner for lone soldiers.
Some school bus drivers in Lakewood, N.J., are expressing their displeasure with having to work on Thanksgiving driving Orthodox Jewish students to school.
A few weeks ago we sent out one of our regular e-blasts with the following headline: “Poll: One in five Americans believes Jews have too much control of Wall Street.”
One of the great human virtues is gratitude. In Jewish tradition, we are encouraged to make at least 100 blessings of gratitude a day. The very first words we say every morning are “I give thanks before you, eternal King, for having restored to me my soul.”
Four drug dealers, a trafficker in stolen goods, a gambler and a turkey made President Obama’s Thanksgiving freedom list, but Israel’s best-known spy did not.
Whether you call it Thanksgiving or Turkey Day, the holiday is a festive time for American Jewish families to enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for blessings.
Tentative plans for a new Chabad House in Mumbai feature a memorial to the emissary couple slain in the 2008 attacks in the Indian city.
The couple, accustomed to the piquant taste of French, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine, were unimpressed with the traditional meal's relatively bland flavor. They decided to develop a Thanksgiving menu that would reflect their signature style, infusing holiday staples with exotic ingredients like date syrup, wine and dried fruits.
Thanksgiving is the holiday to which most American Jews fully relate. It's based on the biblical Sukkot, and it's the American holiday most associated with family gatherings and food. And yet, there is much more to the holiday than stuffing and pumpkin pie.
Ever since I moved to this country 25 years ago, I've been in awe of how 250 million people stop everything during the fourth Thursday of November to gather around cranberry sauce, stuffing and bread pudding.This year, however, being in the Orthodox hood, where they celebrate a Jewish version of Thanksgiving twice a week -- on Friday night and Shabbat lunch, without turkey and TV but with lots of prayers, blessings and songs, and at least as much food -- I've been experiencing something a little different: a respectful but slightly blasé attitude toward this big American holiday.
At Chanukah we celebrate the miraculous rededication of the Second Temple by Judah Maccabee. In so doing the festival's complex historical background fades to backstory. The part we more typically overlook is that the Maccabean revolt was not just a struggle versus Antiochus, an anti-Jewish ruler, but against a larger group of Jews who wanted to be more Greek and less Jewish.
"My sister-in-law stuffs Thanksgiving turkeys with a matzah ball mixture," says Faye Levy, food columnist and author of 14 cookbooks. "Instead of making patties and poaching them, she cooks this tasty mixture inside the turkey."
This never struck Levy as odd, because her mother used to make noodle pudding on Thanksgiving.
"Her Thanksgiving dinners were almost like Shabbat meals," she says.
One of Levy's all-time favorite dishes is Thanksgiving potato kugel with asparagus. "I first tried it at the home of a friend from Colorado," she says, explaining that it was his grandmother's recipe.
"In his family, that dish was the essence of Thanksgiving."
Sukkot is called the Jewish Thanksgiving. It offers thanks for the bountiful harvest of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains.
Did you know that Thanksgiving is really a Jewish holiday?
In some religious Jewish circles, Thanksgiving is controversial. The holiday troubles certain Orthodox Jews not because they are unpatriotic -- considering how faithful a friend America has been to Israel lately, they are probably more patriotic than ever -- but because some believe that the Torah forbids participating in any non-Jewish observance.
The Pilgrims of New Salem, Mass., were so moved by the stories of the ancient Israelites that they thought of America as their Zion and New Salem as their Jerusalem.
Letters to the Editor.
Thanksgiving even manages to unite the disparate members of the Jewish tribe. Orthodox or secular, eating soy Tofurkey or kosher birds, we almost all mark the most spiritual of our American holidays.
This Thanksgiving, following the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, we are already a patriotic and unified country. But, we are also a frightened and anxious country, in need of the comfort that tradition brings.
I was especially proud to be a fourth-generation American Jew. I played a great game of baseball, enjoyed reading the Sunday funnies and celebrated American holidays. My mother's family was the complete opposite. They all came from Europe and had no appreciation for baseball or any American pastimes.
Thanks, but no Thanksgiving. That's my motto for this year.
Yet fish gotta swim, Jewish children gotta fly. The comings and goings of the flock is an expected, if personally wrenching, experience.
Judaism commands us to be kind to animals.
Is the story true?