Gobble-Tov! County Residents Prepare for ‘Thanksgivukkah’
Latkes instead of mashed potatoes, menorahs on the dinner table and the ceremonious opening of presents are just some of the non-traditional elements of Thanksgiving dinner that Silver Spring resident Larry Bram says his family is incorporating this year.
Bram, a member of the Tifereth Israel Congregation, joins other Montgomery County residents planning for an event that hasn’t happened in this lifetime, and won’t happen again until the year 79,811, according to physicist Jonathan Mizrahi.
They’re preparing for “Thanksgivukkah,” the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the same day, and for Jewish Americans, the melding of two very different holidays.
“We are definitely adapting the festivities for the joint holiday,” Bram said. “This is a fun time and we hope to be goofy and thankful simultaneously.”
While the two holidays seem to have nothing in common, Rabbi Sholom Raichik of Chabad Lubavitch of Upper Montgomery County in Gaithersburg said this rare occasion may be a blessing in disguise.
“On the surface it’s simply purely coincidental that the two holidays run together, but they both carry within themselves a message of giving thanks to God for the kindness and the goodness that is bestowed upon us,” said Rabbi Raichik. “That’s really where the two elements of the two holidays unite.”
Several local synagogues are using the opportunity to hold social events that incorporate the convergence of holidays this season.
The Washington Hebrew Congregation in Potomac is celebrating “Shabb-anukkah-giving” on Nov. 29, honoring Shabbat, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving in one, while Temple Emanuel in Kensington is holding an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service of Gratitude on Nov. 26, featuring eight local houses of worship and their choirs along with County Executive Ike Leggett and Congressman Chris Van Hollen.
While the idea of the two holidays has sparked debate over how to celebrate and, of course, what to eat, Rabbi Jonah Layman, of the Shaare Tefila Congregation in Olney, said he thinks it’s a by chance opportunity that should be taken.
“The combination of the holiday will only serve to highlight the meaning behind them, be thankful for the harvest, thankful for religious freedom, thankful for miracles and blessings that we experience every day,” Rabbi Layman said.