Oy Vey, Here Comes Thanksgivukkah!
This year, as you’ve no doubt heard, marks the confluence of two holidays that has not occurred since 1888 and will not occur again until 79,811, according to an analysis by physicist Jonathan Mizrahi. Yes, the first day of Chanukah falls on Nov. 28, which happens to be Thanksgiving this year. This poses problems for many of us! In my family, we have strict preferences and traditions for Thanksgiving, all involving food. In the past, some of us have threatened to boycott the holiday celebration (hosted by my cousin for the last 30 years or so) if certain foods were not served. My daughter insists on Grasshopper Pie for dessert; my go-to dish is the sweet potatoes with apricots and pecans; another family member would be very upset if the warm crabmeat dip with crackers was not there upon his arrival. And now, we add to that the requirements and traditional food for Chanukah and you have chaos!
First, you have to realize that all Jewish holidays revolve around food – either the lack of it (Yom Kippur — the Day of Atonement) or ceremonial food like bitter herbs (Passover), sweets (Rosh Hashonah) or fried food (Chanukah). Archie Bunker, like most non-Jews, was clueless and thought that during one of our most sacred holidays, Yom Kippur, Jews ate “young kippers.” Along that line, my local supermarket has no inkling of what foods go with which Jewish holidays, so they put everything out for each one, regardless of whether it’s useful or not. They must have a manager who says, “Passover? Let’s put out the memorial Yahrzeit candles!” “Chanukah? That must be the time for gefilte fish.” “Rosh Hashonah? Put out the matzohs!”
For my family, discussion has already started. Should we begin our Thanksgiving meal with the lighting of a menorah made from pumpkins? Substitute latkes for sweet potatoes and marshmallows? Exchange our pecan pie for pumpkin doughnuts? Whatever we decide, you can be sure that there will be enough food to celebrate our American holiday, Thanksgiving, along with the ceremonial fried foods for the Festival of Lights, Chanukah. And the children will all end up with Chanukah “gelt” (money) so everyone should be happy.