web analytics
July 1, 2015 / 14 Tammuz, 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
investing-in-gold_4548807_lrg
What Sanctions? Iran Receives 13 Tons of Gold From S. Africa
Latest Indepth Stories
The Marianne boat, carrying humanitarian aid such, as a single and useless solar panel.

The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi

The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”

Donald Trump

“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.

And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.

Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel

In addition to the palace’s tremendous size it was home to the “hanging gardens,” which were counted among the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Rather than asserting Jewish rights on Temple Mount or protecting Jewish lives Israel chooses soccer

Nothing in the NEW Paris Proposal differs much from what was offered by Olmert and rejected by Abbas

No longer will delegitimization efforts go unchallenged. That’s a silence we will continue to break.

Increasingly, Sweden is becoming a country where anti-Semitism & supporting terrorism is acceptable.

Rabbi Pfeffer points out that at his site, there are no one-line answers. “We want to show the people we’re interested in their questions,” he says.

The problem with US treatment of Israel did not start with Obama but with birth of Jewish State

The pathetic failure of the Marianne to reach Gaza is the best thing that has happened to Israel since Hamas mis-fired a rocket on its own civilians.

Wonder why Israel has the world’s most insane rules of engagement imposed on its military? Read on..

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: