web analytics
March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


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.

Current Top Story
More than 40 were killed in the bombing of a Yemeni refugee camp by the Saudi-led strike force.
Attack on Yemeni Refugees Makes Israel Look Like the Girl Scouts
Latest Indepth Stories
hurva

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama Racine

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

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.

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: