web analytics
August 4, 2015 / 19 Av, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Thanksgiving

So, each year, most years, we made a Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. When we moved to Israel, we made a few dinners with American friends, but for the most part, the tradition fell away.
Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

When I married my husband, I was surprised to learn that his family didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. His parents were Holocaust survivors, born and raised in Europe, threatened and nearly killed by the Nazis. They immigrated to the United States because anywhere, everywhere was better than Europe and the US was the first place that came through with enough visas for the brothers and sisters on both sides that had survived. Gone were the parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts. Each had lost siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors.

They were a generation cut off from their roots but not their future and the one thing they knew for sure was that their future would not be spent in Europe. As far as I know, the only other time they went back to Europe was on a personal “heritage” tour in which they went with my sister-in-law and at one place, were met with a woman and a knife because she thought they had come to take her home – the one she had stolen from my father-in-law’s family – away from her.

It was the United States of America that accepted them, welcomed them, and gave them a secure place to raise their children. They accepted many things from their new homeland, but not this holiday of Thanksgiving. For them, as Orthodox Jews, thanksgiving was something you gave every day, not once a year, they explained to me (as others have as well).

In practice, the concept of thanking God is so ingrained in the Jewish religion that it is the first words we speak each morning – Modeh Ani –

מוֹדֶה (מוֹדָה) אֲנִי לְפָנֶֽיךָ מֶֽלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּים. שֶׁהֶֽחֱזַֽרְתָּ בִּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמֽוּנָתֶֽךָ I offer thanks before you, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me; Your faithfulness is great.

I tried to explain to them that for me Thanksgiving was about family – it was the chance to gather everyone close on a day that was not Shabbat, when Jews are unable to travel, use electricity, and generally stay close to home.

So, each year, most years, we made a Thanksgiving dinner with friends and family. When we moved to Israel, we made a few dinners with American friends, but for the most part, the tradition fell away. It’s been years since I did it. Until Lauren came into our lives and asked about the holiday.

I decided this year to make a turkey and invite my parents and my sister – her children, my children. And then, Israel went…well, as it turns out, not really to war but into Operation Pillar of Defense. Elie was called in and I wasn’t sure what to do. I decided that whatever Lauren wanted, we’d do and so I asked. I think she was surprised that I asked – hadn’t considered canceling. You don’t cancel Thanksgiving, after all – it’s there. And so my husband picked up the turkey, I stuffed it and cooked it. Lauren made pumpkin pie and a delicious soup – and my parents and my sister and one of her kids (and her fiance, who is also named Elie), came.

And though he didn’t make it in time for dinner – but rather time enough to grab leftovers and eat them straight off the plate as a happy Lauren packed him food – Elie came home.

Thanksgiving is a time – one time along with every day and every minute of your life that you should stop and give thanks. Some families go around the table and have everyone say one thing for which they are grateful. That’s not something we have ever done, but perhaps we should.

I am so very grateful, God, that You brought my son home safely. I’m grateful for the rain that pours down on this land at this moment, and even for the thunder and lightning. I am grateful for the land in which I live; that we are able to defend ourselves as we were not able to do when my in-laws lived and nearly died in Europe.

I am so very grateful for the blessings in my life – my husband, my children, my grandson, the three that have married my children to form families of their own. I am grateful to the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who answered the call without hesitation -in staggering numbers and with staggering efficiency. They rushed to answer the call – out of love and dedication.

About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

3 Responses to “Thanksgiving”

  1. Leon Pettyjohn says:

    Give Thanks every Day!

  2. Heshy R says:

    Now this is a beautiful article, unlike that other one by the guy with the bad attitude. Give thanks to G-d, for He is good!

  3. Heshy R says:

    Now this is a beautiful article, unlike that other one by the guy with the bad attitude. Give thanks to G-d, for He is good!

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.
FM Moshe Kahlon to Present ‘Cornflakes Reform’ Budget
Latest Blogs Stories
yeshivaresized flash 90.jpg

Surprisingly, many Hareidi communities do not advocate full time Kollel study for life as the ideal.

Baim-061915-Mazal-Tov

“You’ve been out on enough dates, are you going to marry him?” Many times I’ve choked at this point.

Shira Banki, 16, z'l

What is left to say when a 16 year-old is dead? How will her mother and family endure without her?

Bloodstained car after Palestinian Authority terrorists shot at settlers

Compare the numbers. Disproportionately too many Arab attacks on Jews have been happening.

What is the impact of renouncing US citizenship if you live abroad? Can you visit the US again?

Gentile friends of Israel came from all over Norway & Europe and they sang “Hatikva” in Norwegian!

As the incitement begins again against the settlers, the religious and the Right, let’s review the list of children killed by terrorists.

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

In all the years (and this week it’s exactly 14 years) since our daughter was murdered, we have not found a single Arabic-language post, article, tweet or speech condemning that attack in the center of Jerusalem or the killings.

Everyone is angry at the ongoing Arab terrorism, but what does murdering a baby have to do with protecting Jewish lives or furthering Jewish settlement in the Land of Israel?

Tonight, live Meerkat interactive video tour and talk in Jerusalem.

The US doesn’t want Pollard & he doesn’t want America- release him with 1 condition: No return to US

Meet Republican US presidential candidate Kerry Bowers & listen to his message to the Israeli public

Amongst the Palestinians (sic) what is promoted and praised for its young people? Terror & martyrdom

“If you can’t negotiate with your enemy, why negotiate at all?” Great sound bite. The press loved it

The phenomenon pushing limits of Orthodoxy to the extreme left has no chance of becoming mainstream

More Articles from Paula R. Stern
The CNN Center in Atlanta.

Dear CNN: When hypocrisy rules a media outlet, its mandate to call what they do “journalism” expires

A Soldier's Mother

Dear Muslims, Happy Ramadan. It’s clear from the news that your people are having a “bang-up” month

If your nation does wrong, isn’t it your responsibility to accept responsibility to counter evil?

The story likely to be reported will assign all the blame to Israel and none to the Palestinians.

Sadna’s programs for young people with special needs helps them become more than believed possible

To friends in America: Wishing someone “Happy Memorial Day” means you don’t understand the holiday.

For the record, the grand total of Jewish grandmothers in Israel that have blown up ANYTHING: ZERO!

A minute and a half? What if the kids are upstairs with earphones on and they don’t hear the siren?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/a-soldiers-mother/thanksgiving/2012/11/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: