JBuzz Musings November 28, 2013: American Jews far and wide celebrating Thanksgivukkah phenomenon

JBUZZ MUSINGS: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

American Jews far and wide celebrating Thanksgivukkah phenomenon

By Bonnie K. Goodman

All over the United States American Jews and Jews worldwide celebrated the first light of Hanukkah on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013. The next day on Thursday, Nov. 28, American Jews celebrated a rare convergence of two holidays…READ MORE
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JBuzz Features November 27, 2013: Eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah

JBUZZ FEATURES: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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Eight ways to celebrate Thanksgivukkah

Source: CNN (blog), 11-27-13

Break out the menurkeys and sweet potato latkes, people, it’s time to celebrate Thanksgivukkah, a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. A calendrical quirk brings the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving together this Thursday for the first time since 1888….READ MORE

JBuzz Features November 26, 2013: Calendar makes new holiday: Thanksgivukkah

JBUZZ FEATURES: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Calendar makes new holiday: Thanksgivukkah

It’s time to carve the turkey. . . and light the menorah. It’s Thanksgivukkah! An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a holiday frenzy….READ MORE

JBuzz News November 27, 2013: Wednesday marks first night of Hanukkah

JBUZZ NEWS: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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Wednesday marks first night of Hanukkah

Source: CityNews, 11-27-13

Wednesday marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. For the first time in over a hundred years, the eight-day holiday will overlap with American Thanksgiving, which is Thursday….READ MORE

JBuzz Features November 27, 2013: Thanksgivukkah, a modern holiday foretold in scripture

JBUZZ FEATURES: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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Thanksgivukkah, a modern holiday foretold in scripture

Source: Haaretz (blog), 11-27-13

Thanksgivukkah is a brand-new word, but its origins stretch back to antiquity. So as the once-in-a-lifetime holiday draws near, let us follow the etymological trail of its name from the dawn of civilization to the 21st century − in reverse….READ MORE

Moshe Sokolow: Thanksgiving: A Jewish Holiday After All

JBUZZ: ISRAEL/JEWISH CULTURAL BUZZ

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Moshe Sokolow: Thanksgiving: A Jewish Holiday After All

Source: Jewish Ideas Daily, 11-23-11

Thanksgiving

In 1789, in response to a resolution offered by Congressman Elias Boudinot of New Jersey, President George Washington issued a proclamation recommending that Thursday November 26th of that year “be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation.”

In New York City, Congregation Shearith Israel convened a celebration on that day at which its minister, Gershom Mendes Seixas, embraced the occasion: “As we are made equal partakers of every benefit that results from this good government; for which we cannot sufficiently adore the God of our fathers who hath manifested his care over us in this particular instance; neither can we demonstrate our sense of His benign goodness, for His favourable interposition in behalf of the inhabitants of this land.”

While the celebrations at that venerable Orthodox synagogue continue unabated to this day, other American Jewish appreciations of Thanksgiving have ranged from the skeptical to the outright antagonistic. In an essay entitled “Is Thanksgiving Kosher?” Atlanta’s Rabbi Michael Broyde examines three rabbis’ halakhic positions on the subject: that of Yitzhak Hutner, who ruled Thanksgiving a Gentile holiday and forbade any recognition of it; that of Joseph B. Soloveitchik, who regarded it as a secular holiday and permitted its celebration (particularly by eating turkey), and that of Moshe Feinstein, who permitted turkey but prohibited any other celebration because of reservations over the recognition of even secular holidays.

Newly presented historical information, however, may swing the annual autumnal pendulum back in favor of participation in what now appears to have begun as a holiday with both a patent Jewish theme and associated rituals. In his recent book, Making Haste From Babylon, Nick Bunker reveals an item of particular significance for both Jewish observers and critics of Thanksgiving….READ MORE

Puritans

And from this Psalme, and this verse of it, the Hebrues have this Canon; Foure must confess (unto God) The sick, when he is healed; the prisoner when he is released out of bonds; they that goe down to sea, when they are come up (to land); and wayfaring men, when they are come to the inhabited land. And they must make confession before ten men, and two of them wise men, Psal. 107. 32. And the manner of confessing and blessing is thus; He standeth among them and blesseth the Lord, the King eternal, that bounteously rewardeth good things unto sinners, etc. Maimony in Misn. Treat. Of Blessings, chap. 10, sect. 8.

Moshe Sokolow, professor of Jewish education at the Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University, is the author of Studies in the Weekly Parashah Based on the Lessons of Nehama Leibowitz (2008).

Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen: Giving thanks is essential

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Rabbi Scott L. Shpeen: Giving thanks is essential

Source: Times Union 11-18-11

I learned a very important lesson in understanding history while a student at the seminary in Cincinnati in a class on American Jewish history. Our professor, Jacob Rader Marcus, began by discussing when the first Jewish settlers came to North America.

It was assumed the year was 1654 when a ship arrived in New Netherlands from Recife, Brazil. The forebearers of the group aboard had fled the Inquisition in 1492 and now a century and a half later the settlers were seeking greater freedom in the Dutch colony. That is what was in the annals of history and accepted as fact. Yet Dr. Marcus noted that a document had been uncovered years before, handed down by the settlers describing their arrival: As they disembarked they was greeted ashore by an unknown co-religionist welcoming them with a hearty “shalom.”

It is with the same trepidation that I share the unofficial history of our Union Thanksgiving Service in Albany — because there are several versions of what was believed to have been the first joint Thanksgiving service. Some documents say it took place in the fall of 1927 while others say 1928 or 1929. I have yet to meet anyone who actually attended the first service, so we are still not sure which date is correct.

This much we know to be fact: The Thanksgiving ritual of coming together from different segments of Albany and the surrounding area, committed to mutual respect, understanding and friendship is a long-standing tradition that connects Congregation Beth Emeth, Trinity United Methodist Church, the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany and Westminister Presbyterian Church….READ MORE

Scott Shpeen has been the spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Emeth since 1985.