Although it may be a stretch until we see Chanukah and Thanksgiving overlap again, it’s certainly no stretch to connect these two holidays. In some ways Chanukah and Thanksgiving are one and the same.

One doesn’t need a degree in American history to understand that Thanksgiving is simply a day of thanks. We give thanks  to God, thanks for this country, thanks to those who have made our lives possible, thanks for the comforts we have been provided and thanks for our blessed lives.

And it is a day of giving: giving over words of appreciation, giving the gift of beautiful and bountiful meals, giving the best of what we have to offer to family, to friends, neighbors and strangers. And giving, of course, which takes place around food.

And speaking of food – put on your yarmulke cause here comes Chanukah, a holiday equally of thanks and giving. We give thanks to the Macabees and those who came before us who fought and died to provide for us our religious freedom, those who proudly stood up and shined forth their Jewish identity. We give thanks to God who has stood by our people continuing to shine His light upon us for thousands of years. We give thanks to those who continue to lead us today – to teach us how to be fearless warriors of Jewish spirit like our ancestors and for the generations yet to come.

Indeed, the word Jew means “gratitude.” To be a Jew means to live a life of gratitude and what better way and what better day than to be grateful on the great American day of giving thanks.

May both of these holidays be filled with a deep feeling of Thanks.

May both of these holidays be defined by Giving.

Happy Thanksgivukkah,

Rabbi B

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