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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

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.

For the Miracles, Thank You

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Our Sages teach that when Chanukah comes around, we are to thank Hashem, not only for the miracles that He performed for us in Israel long ago, but also for the miracles which He performs for us today. So, with your permission, I want to take this opportunity to thank Hashem for all of the uncountable miracles He has done for me and for the Jewish people in our time. Here are but a few.

First of all, thank you, Abba, for my life. After all, life is a miracle too. Some people think that life is coming to them, that it is some kind of automatic gift, that it’s theirs and theirs alone, and no thanks are needed. But, in truth, every second of life is a miracle. We don’t empower ourselves. Every breath, every heartbeat, is a gift from God. Seeing is a miracle. Hearing is a miracle. Put an eye on a table and it won’t see a thing. Without God’s gift of our souls, our eyes couldn’t see, our ears couldn’t hear, and we wouldn’t be able to think or walk or talk at all. It’s all a miracle! So thank you Abba for the miracle of life.

Thank you, Abba, for letting me know You are there. For almost 30 years, I didn’t know. I went about like a zombie without paying any attention. Then after I searched and searched for the Truth of life, trying everything there was to try, and doing everything there was to do, You revealed Yourself to me on a beach in California, and let me know that You are everything, hiding behind the movie set of this world, the Director of Directors.

Thank you, Abba, for the miracle of letting me realize that the Torah is true. So many people don’t realize it, especially in Hollywood where I was living when You came into my life. And thank you for opening my eyes to understand that its teachings are eternal and apply to our times as well, like a living Constitution for our lives, in each and every detail.

Thank you, Abba, for the miracle of understanding that a Jew is supposed to live in the Land of the Jews, our special Holy Land, the Land that you bequeathed to our Forefathers and all the Jewish People for all time, and not live in foreign gentile lands, with foreign languages and foreign customs, trying our hardest to be like everyone else instead of being our own proud and holy Israelite Nation in our Biblical Homeland. Why is this a miracle? Because so many of our brethren live in darkness, not understanding this great commandment of the Torah, and feeling perfectly content to live in other people’s lands, tragically missing out living the very heart and goal of the Torah, the establishment of Your holy Torah Kingdom in the Land of Israel.

Thank you, Abba, for the miracle of Medinat Yisrael, the State of Israel, and for the miraculous opportunity of returning to our Land after 2000 years of wandering and suffering in alien lands, lands of persecution and assimilation that have devoured the remnants of our People, leaving us so small in number, and now, You have miraculously answered 2000 years of yearning and prayers to return to Zion.

And, thank you, Abba, not only for the miracle of our own Jewish State, but also for the miracle of realizing how much I must thank you for it, for tragically there are many who have been blinded by the darkness of exile, and they don’t see the great light, and the great obligation to thank you for this incredible miracle and kindness.

And, thank you, Abba, for putting in my heart the flame to come to Israel, and the courage to leave everything behind, family, country of birth, a successful career, sports car, famous friends, the possibility of seeing my face on People Magazine and Good Morning America.

Thank you for the miracle of health, for healing me of a chronic illness in a miraculous fashion, without medicine or surgical intervention in answer to my fervent prayers, after I threw my cortisone pills into the Pacific Ocean and relied on Your salvation alone.

Thank you for the miracle of allowing me to use the talents You gave me in the service of Am Yisrael, to help spread the truth of Your Torah, and the importance of living a holy life in Israel, as it says over and over again in the Torah itself, in the words of our Prophets, and in the teachings of our great holy Sages.

Thank you, Abba, for the miracle of my Jewish wife and Jewish children, and from having watched over me all those dark years in America when I could have married a non-Jew, and lost all connection to You completely.

Thank you, Abba, for the miracle that my children grow up speaking Hebrew, and not some foreign gentile language, and for the miracle of their growing up in their own Jewish Land, proud Israeli Jews, without mixed-up dual identities, thinking they belong to some foreign nation, when we are really the Children of Israel, and not Egyptians, or Babylonians, or Romans, or Germans, or proud Americans waving the Stars and Stripes on the Fourth of July and thinking that George Washington was our founding father.

Thank you, Abba, for providing us with the Israel Defense Forces, and all of our victories over our enemies today, like in the days of the Maccabees, and for letting me understand the supreme mitzvah of serving in our army, and for allowing me to recognize the miracles you have done for us in our wars, not like those who think it was our military power alone that saved us, or those who foolishly claim that prayer and Torah are all that we need, and who don’t want to admit that their throats would be slit by the bloodthirsty hordes of Ishmaelites who would pounce on Mea Shaarim in five minutes if not for the brave holy soldiers of Tzahal.

Thank you, Abba, for all of your miracles, those that I recognize and those that I don’t, those that You do for me and my family, and those you do for all Clal Yisrael.

May the day come soon when I will merit to witness the greatest miracle of all – when the Jews of America will open their eyes and see the emptiness of Jewish life in a foreign gentile land now that You have renewed true Jewish life in the Land of Israel.

Amen!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/felafel-on-rye/for-the-miracles-thank-you/2012/12/12/

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