web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

My Zaidy Was A Pilgrim


My zaidy a pilgrim? It may, at first glance, seem like a crazy statement, but it’s true. In fact, all of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were pilgrims.

Many years ago while I was a yeshiva student, the administration wanted us to start a school newspaper. I chose to do an editorial on Thanksgiving. As it happened, the school cook was not Jewish. That year she went out and bought kosher turkeys with her own money for the boys for Thanksgiving. The yeshiva, though, did not want to officially recognize Thanksgiving as a holiday celebrated by Jews, so the cook was prohibited from serving the turkeys on Thanksgiving. She was told to save them for another day.

Now don’t get me wrong: I had a good experience at this yeshiva, and would even send my own children there. Nevertheless, this incident rubbed me the wrong way. I wrote a respectful editorial on the subject titled “My Zaidy was a Pilgrim.” The newspaper never came to fruition, and the article was never published.

I am now older with school-age children of my own, and I still meet many Jews who share the view held by my yeshiva – that Thanksgiving is not a holiday for Jews. Personally, I feel this view is misguided, as it fails to acknowledge why we are living here. Jews of previous generations were proud to have settled in America and they embraced its freedoms and culture.

My zaidy, on my fathers’ side, came to America in the early part of the last century. He came here as a young man, on a boat (I’ve seen a picture of it), to make a better life for himself. Sounds like a Pilgrim to me. If he and millions of others like him had not made the sacrifice of leaving homes and families behind, where would we be today?

In speaking to people on this subject, I’ve come across a range of opinions regarding the nonobservance of Thanksgiving by Jews. Most of those reasons center on the lack of specific Jewish reference to the holiday.

One person told me his family only celebrated those holidays that pertained to Jews on a religious level. And since there was no classical Jewish reference to the Thanksgiving story, his family would not recognize it. When I said I didn’t expect him to say Hallel on that day, he told me I was making too big a deal of the whole thing. He admitted, however, that his family did go to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.

Another person whose opinion I recently sought started quoting statements he’d heard from a few rabbis, but in general sort of dodged the question.

I fully understand that in Judaism there is a concept of “u’bchukosahem lo salachu” – that we should not follow the ways of the surrounding non-Jewish culture. O.K., so don’t eat turkey and watch a parade. If you’d rather take the day off and spend it learning in a shul or bais medrash, by all means follow your heart – but give special thanks to Hashem for allowing us to live in a country where we are free to do so.

About the Author: Zev Messinger, office manager for Global Cellular, lives happily (and thankfully) among the broad spectrum of Jews who call Brooklyn home.


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.

No Responses to “My Zaidy Was A Pilgrim”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Ben Gurion Airport
BREAKING: FAA Extends Ban on US Flights to Israel
Latest Indepth Stories

Almost as one, Jews around the world are acknowledging the day-to-day peril facing ordinary Jews in Israel and the extraordinary service of the IDF in protecting them.

So on the one hand Secretary Kerry makes no bones about who is at fault for the current hostilities: he clearly blames Hamas.

King Solomon said it long ago: “Cast your bread upon the waters” because you don’t know when you’ll hit something. Our job is to do.

The anti-Israel camp does not need to win America fully to its side. Merely to neutralize it would radically alter the balance of power and put Israel in great jeopardy.

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Charges from the court of world public opinion and their refutations.

It is up to our government to ensure that their sacrifices were not made for short-term gains.

Supporting Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East, has become dangerous in Malmo.

Proportionality Doctrine:The greater the military gain the greater the justifiable collateral damage

Regional pro-US Arab countries rely on Israel as a deterrence to rogue Islamic regimes.

He has always supported the underdog, once even quite literally, legislating a law that prohibits the abandonment of pets.

Temech is about providing a community – a place where religious women can learn, collaborate and refresh themselves with like-minded people.

Netanyahu has decided that the lives of Israeli are more important than looking good for Obama, U.N. and the NY Times.

More Articles from Zev Messinger

My zaidy a pilgrim? It may, at first glance, seem like a crazy statement, but it’s true. In fact, all of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents were pilgrims.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/my-zaidy-was-a-pilgrim/2006/11/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: