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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

Lone Soldiers and Olim Celebrate “Thanksgivukkah” in Tel Aviv

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Fifty lone soldiers and over 200 young professional Olim celebrated “Thanksgivukkah” at a festive event organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh and White City Shabbat.

Revelers celebrated the once-in-a-lifetime double holiday of Chanukkah and Thanksgiving at the landmark Goren Synagogue in Tel Aviv with a three-course meal replete with traditional holiday foods including latkes and turkey.

After the meal, Tel Aviv’s deputy mayor Asaf Zamir led the Chanukkah candle-lighting ceremony. This event was also sponsored by the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth L’Israel, JNF and the FIDF as a part of Nefesh B’Nefesh’s ongoing social events for its Olim and Lone Soldiers.

As a gesture of showing thanks and in order to promote acts of kindness towards those less fortunate, dinner guests were encouraged to donate lightly worn clothes for the event’s clothing drive.

“We are excited to have teamed up with White City Shabbat on this exceptional holiday event. This was a great opportunity for young professionals and lone soldiers to enjoy a traditional festive meal and express their thanks together with fellow Olim from around the country,” said Benji Davis, Events & Programs Coordinator at Nefesh B’Nefesh.

White City Shabbat is a volunteer-run portal for Jewish life in Tel Aviv that hosts a range of intercommunity events, including its hugely successful monthly Shabbat meals.

As a native Brit, Deborah Danan doesn’t feel that Thanksgivukkah is exclusive for Americans. “The theme of Thanksgiving is anyway inherent to the festival of Chanukkah which all Jews celebrate,” said Danan, who co-directs White City Shabbat together with Eytan White, “And of course, as our tagline states, ‘you don’t have to be American to give thanks!’ People from a broad spectrum of nationalities are coming together to show their gratitude for being able to celebrate this unique holiday in Israel.”

Boston Declares Nov. 28 as ‘Thanksgivukkah’

Monday, November 25th, 2013

It now is official. This year’s rare coincidence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will be known as “Thanksgivukkah” where the Boston Tea Party took place, retiring Mayor Thomas Menino  declared.

The proclamation notes the special “diversity of all its citizens” and the values embodied by both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, including “unity, hope and gratitude.”

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah last fell on the same day in the late 19th century and after a couple of more concurrent holidays the next 100 years or so, they are not expected to converge again for more than 75,000 years.

That means most of us will not have to suffer the “Thanksgivukkah” shtick again in our lives.

JNS contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

Fowl Peace Talks a Treif Thanksgiving Turkey

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Middle East experts are experts by virtue of their positions of power.

Some of them, like former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even have learned a thing or two about international affairs. Rice actually has a Ph.D., which as comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said, should be read as “phttttttttttt.”

The experts, and that includes John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and the Oslo Accords crowd, may have learned about prophets, kings, oil and sheikhs in International Relations 101, but they missed out on the basics, like selling non-kosher turkeys to the Arabs.

I learned more about Arab-Jewish relations by working in kibbutz turkey barns than Kerry and Ashton could ever learn in their worldwide visits to official residents of presidents and prime ministers in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.

Turkeys, like people, are cute when they are babies, but after a few weeks, they are not like most people. Their feet are scratchy and they begin to stink. When they get to be three months old, some of them pick up a cold, a little bronchitis, or start to hobble on weak knees, probably from too many carbohydrates.

Then they start acting like grown teenagers. The stronger turkeys pick on the weaker ones, just like fifth-graders playing king of the hill. They peck at the skin until the poor gobbler cannot stand on his feet.

When I was in charge of the birds on a kibbutz farm, the sick and injured had their own quarters, a fenced-off intensive care ward where the bullies couldn’t bother them. But sometimes it was too late. Their broken legs and their bronchitis often are more than modern medicine can cure on a cost-efficient basis.

What can you do with a sick and lame turkey? You sell it cheaply. After all, the reason to raise turkeys is turn them into fat candidates for the slaughterhouse and convert them into cold cash. The Humane Society really does not have much demand for them.

That’s where a revised International Relations 101 course could have taught the experts, sitting in their sterilized offices, something besides making roadmaps to nowhere. Even Professor Yossi Beilin, the darling of the Israeli Left, doesn’t know a kibbutz from Damascus.

Peace is a business, like anything else these days. But you have to know the rules of the game. A good Western businessman knows that a handshake is a handshake, a word is a word, and a deal is a deal.

For instance, Tom wants to sell his two-year-old Chevy for $5,000. Clyde wants to buy it for $4,000. One of them budges or there’s no deal. Jim tries to cut a deal at $4,400. If Tom and Clyde compromise at $4,500, Tom gets his money and Clyde gets his wheels. As for Jim, that’s his problem.

But that’s not the way it works in the Middle East. Here, Abe writes out a check and Ahmed gives him the key. The next day, Abe discovers the key doesn’t fit. “Of course it does not fit,” Ahmed retorts. “The price of the car was according to the real value of the dollar. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent yesterday. You owe me $10!”

Abe protests, “Where’s the cell phone antenna that was on the roof? I am stopping payment on the check. You owe me $25 for the bank charge.”

“I’m not finished stripping the car,” retaliates Ahmed. The DVD is mine, but I’ll put back the original radio. It works most of the time, especially the Al Jazeera channel.”

“Look, here,” snarls Abe. “I paid you $4,500, but that was based on the price of gold. It went up two cents yesterday. The real price is $4,498.09.”

“You can add another $120 for the deluxe hub caps, or I’ll take them with me,” Ahmed shouts.

They agree to talk again tomorrow. That was 10 years ago. They still are talking.

It doesn’t matter that Abe still has to thumb a ride to work and that Ahmed does the same because he doesn’t have enough money for gas. The principles are that the other guy didn’t get what he wanted so they can continue arguing.

In Western societies, negotiations are a means to an end. The objective is to make a deal so both sides get what they want.

Kerry Postpones Next Trip to Israel

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters Monday he is postponing what was supposed to be a visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority next week and will return to the region after the Thanksgiving holiday.

He did not explain reasons behind the new timetable but did state, “It looks as if I probably will not be able to get there over the course of this weekend.”

Given his undiplomatic remarks last week, threatening Israel it will face a “third Intifada” if it does not do as he says, nothing will probably be lost by his remaining out of Israel for another week.

Iran also has been a sore point between him and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and Kerry tried to some smooth talk Monday. He said of Netanyahu, “I have great respect for his concerns about his country. The prime minister should express his concerns and he has every right in the world to publicly state his position and defend what he believes is his interest.”

But he added that the Prime Minister is wrong. “Nothing that we are doing here, in my judgment, will put Israel at any additional risk,” Kerry said.

Latest Thanksgivukkah Shtick: Turkey-Filled Doughnuts

Monday, November 11th, 2013

This year’s coincidence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah is one of those events that no one outside of the United States feels he is lacking, and the latest gimmick of turkey and cranberry-filled doughnuts raises the question of how many American Jews are so thrilled about it.

Since 1888, 1899 and 1918, the two holidays never have occurred at the same time until this year, and after that, it won’t happen again until 2070 and 2165.

Because of quirks in the system of calculating the calendars, the two holidays will not occur until the year 79811, give or take a day.

New York’s Zucker’s Bakery probably won’t be around then, and it is questionable whether Thanksgiving will still be in existence, so the bakery this year is outdoing Baskin-Robbins’ weirdo flavors and has come up with all sorts of doughnuts for those who religiously observe the customs of eating turkey on Thanksgiving and doughnuts on Hanukkah.

Zucker’s, based in Manhattan, has four twin-holiday menu items, take them or leave them.

First, there are spiced pumpkin doughnuts, complete with turkey and gravy filling.

If that doesn’t suit your fancy, try the same doughnuts with turkey and cranberry filling for a more Thanksgiving-style taste.

Two more options are spiced pumpkin doughnuts with cranberry sauce filling and sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallow cream filling.

Coming up with the delicacies was “fun” event for the bakery’s co-owner and baker Melissa Feit, whose company is selling the Thanksgivukkah doughnuts for the fun price of  $3.50 to $5 a piece, meaning the bakery does not pay you to eat them but you have to pay the bakery.

Now, what would happen if Thanksgiving coincided with Passover?

Unleavened doughnuts with horseradish anyone?

Pass the Cranberry Latkes for Thanksgivukkah Holiday (Video)

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

If the Pilgrims are lighting menorahs and the Maccabees are chasing turkeys, it must be Thanksgivukkah, as some have come to call the confluence of Thanksgiving and Chanukah that will happen this year on Nov. 28.

It’s a rare event, one that won’t occur again until 2070 and then in 2165. Beyond that, because the Jewish lunisolar (lunar with solar adjustments) calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, the Chanukah-Thanksgiving confluence won’t happen again by one calculation until the year 79811 — when turkeys presumably will be smart enough to read calendars and vacation in space that month.

How do we celebrate this rare holiday alignment? Do we stick candles in the turkey and stuff the horns of plenty with gelt? Put payos on the Pilgrims? What about starting by wishing each other “gobble tov” and then changing the words to a favorite Chanukah melody:

“I cooked a little turkey, Just like I’m Bobby Flay, And when it’s sliced and ready, I’ll fress the day away.”

The holiday mash-up has its limits. We know the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade will not end with a float carrying a Maccabee. But it has created opportunities as well: Raise your hand if you plan to wait until the post-Thanksgiving Day sales for your Chanukah shopping.

Ritually, just as we’ve figured out that we add candles to our menorahs from right to left and light them from left to right, a new question looms this year: Should we slice the turkey before or after?

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Dr. Ron Wolfson, whose book “Relational Judaism” (Jewish Lights Publishing) speaks to how our communal relationships — how we listen and welcome — can make our Jewish communities more meaningful. “This year is about bringing friends and family together.”

Wolfson, also the author of “The Chanukah Family Guide to Spiritual Celebration,” said in a recent interview that this year’s calendrical collision was a way to enhance “Thanksgiving beyond football and a big meal.”

In the American land of commercial plenty, the confluence certainly has served up a feast of merchandise. There are T-shirts saying “8 Days of Light, Liberty & Latkes” and a coffee mug picturing a turkey with nine burning tail feathers. And then there’s the ceramic menorah in the shape of a turkey — a Menurkey, created by 9-year-old Asher Weintraub of New York.

But being more of a do-it-yourselfer, this writer recycled an old sukkah decoration to create a Thankgivukkkah centerpiece — the cornukiyah.

For the holiday cook trying to blend the two holidays’ flavors, there’s a recipe that calls for turkeys brined in Manischewitz, and another for cranberry latkes. But what about a replacement for the now infamous Frankenstein of Thanksgiving cuisine, the turducken? How about a “turchitke,” a latke inside of a chicken inside of a turkey?

For Wolfson, who has largely ignored the merch and wordplay, this year simply is an opportunity to change the script. At his Thanksgiving dinner, he is going combine Chanukah ritual with holiday elements found on FreedomsFeast.us, a website that uses American holidays to pass on “stories, values and behaviors.”

Wolfson, a Fingerhut professor of education at American Jewish University, wants us to consider the similarities of the stories at the heart of each holiday.

“The Pilgrims were escaping religious persecution in Europe. They did not want to be assimilated,” Wolfson said, adding that “the Maccabees were fighting against Hellenization,” another form of assimilation.

Counter to the usual “December dilemma” for the intermarried — whose numbers have increased to 58 percent since 2005, according to the recent Pew study — Wolfson noted the “opportunities and challenges” presented this year by Chanukah and Christmas not coinciding.

“We usually feel the tension between the two holidays,” he said. “This year we can feel the compatibility of the two.”

The early Chanukah will help people to appreciate its “cultural integrity,” said Wolfson, adding that he “would not be surprised by a spike in candle lighting this year.”

But for others in the Jewish community, the pushing together of the Festival of Lights with Turkey Day has forced other changes, some unwanted.

Rabbi Steven Silver of Temple Menorah in Redondo Beach, Calif., is canceling his temple’s traditional Friday night Chanukah dinner. “That holiday weekend will be vacation time, people will be out visiting family and friends,” he said. “The rabbis won’t have anyone in front of them that weekend, and that’s a problem.”

‘Jew in the City’ Announces Top 10 Orthodox Jewish All Stars

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew and Nobel Laureate Robert Aumann are among ten individuals who have been named 2013 Orthodox Jewish All Stars by Jew in the City, the organization dedicated to re-branding Orthodox Jews and Judaism to the world through digital media.

The awards will be presented on November 24 in New York City. The date coincides with the Thanksgiving and the Festival Hanukkah.

This year’s All Stars are a diverse group that also includes Sarah Hofstetter, who was promoted last week to CEO of leading advertising firm 360i in the United States; Ari Pinchot, co-executive producer of the new film,  Lee Daniels’ The Butler; Na’ama Shafir, the first Orthodox female professional basketball player; and Joseph Shenker, chairman of Sullivan and Cromwell, one of the leading U.S. law firms.

Rounding out the list are  Rama Burshtein, writer, director and producer of the awarding-winning film  Fill the Void and the first Hasidic woman to make a film for general audiences; Anne Neuberger, the Director of the National Security Agency’s Commercial Solutions Center; Issamar Ginzberg, a marketing guru who was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs and who is the grandson of prominent Hasidic rabbis; and Dr. Laurel Steinherz, Director of Pediatric Cardiology at Memorial Sloan Kettering and co-founder of Camp Simcha, a camp for Jewish children with cancer.

“There is a common misconception that being an Orthodox Jew means you don’t have many career options,” said  author Allison Josephs, who founded Jew in the City six years ago to break down myths and misconceptions about religious Jews and observant Judaism.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/jew-in-the-city-announces-top-10-orthodox-jewish-all-stars/2013/10/16/

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