Thoughts on connecting Jewishly with Thanksgiving. Pumpkin challah, anyone? Click to read more.

Prager on America’s Yom Tov – Happy Thanksgiving!

Dennis Prager, one of my favorite Jewish authors/bloggers/commentators, recently posted An American Yom Tov on Jewish Daily Forward extolling the virtues of Thanksgiving as “an American yom tov.”  He points out that Thanksgiving is all about a core Jewish value:  gratitude for our blessings — freedom, family, prosperity (at times, at least).  As Jews, America has been especially kind to us over the years — providing at all times in American history, a better environment for Jews than anywhere else on the planet (although that becomes an argument after 1948.)

For many years, our family has included kiddush and motzi (over a home-made pumpkin challah) at the start of the big Thanksgiving meal – a tradition we picked up thanks to Joel Lurie Grishaver’s40 Things You Can Do to Save The Jewish People“:

10. Make Kiddush and ha-Motzi on Thanksgiving.

It is important to treat Thanksgiving as a Jewish Ritual Meal and thereby blend Jewish and American values into a single expression. . . Thanksgiving is nothing more than a Pilgrim version of a creative Sukkot celebration – add the popcorn and and cranberries, take out the lulav and etrog, and you get the picture.

Prager makes the interesting point that Thanksgiving is the only American religious holiday that Jews can share with the majority religion in America.  No less than George Washington, in the proclamation creating the first observance in 1789, called for the day:

“to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be….”

To that, I say, “v’imru, Amen!”

Look for the Week in Review on Friday morning.  Happy Thanksgiving and a Shehecheyanu for all of us!

About David Fellows

I've been writing things since grammar school, and served as a writer, photographer and/or an editor on my junior high and high school newspapers; the Daily Trojan at USC (where I earned my journalism degree); the student newspaper at the Anderson School at UCLA (where I earned my MBA); and written and edited countless business documents and presentations in the ensuing twenty years. I've been involved Jewishly since my bris and in Boulder since 1995. I'm married to my Executive Director Cheryl, and we have two children, Lauren and Ethan.

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One comment

  1. From "The One Who Bakes the Pumpkin Challah Every Year":

    Pumpkin Challah

    Add about a half-can pumpkin plus some cinnamon (and other pie spice if you have it) to your dough. You'll need more flour – a cup or so – to absorb the moisture. Whole wheat (or white whole wheat) is great for the extra flour – it helps the dough hold up. This recipe is pretty close to the one I use: Pumpkin challah – Looks like an interesting blog, too!