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November 30, 2013

Jews celebrated Thanksgiving and Hanukah together this year. The Hebrew calendar just worked out that way.

The second night of Hanukkah was dubbed, “Thanksgivakah” .

At first, it all sounded too weird to think about. Especially since it has never happened before in my lifetime and is not about to happen again for another seven thousand years or so.

Turned out, it was very nice. Both holidays, after all, are celebrations of freedom.

On Hanukkah, Jews all over the world, celebrate the “miracle” that happened in Syria, some two thousand years ago. Legend has it, that the mean King Antiochus banned the Jews from their Temple, they fought back, reclaimed it and re-lit the “Eternal Light” which had blown out.

Every synagogue or Temple everywhere, burns an “Eternal Light.”

The miracle? One day’s worth of oil somehow lasted for eight days until more oil could be procured.

Nobody knows exactly how that worked, but it does explain why Jews have lit eight candles, one for each night, during the Hanukkah season, ever since.

Hanukkah is not as flashy a holiday as Christmas, but it serves the same function of ritual and family togetherness. Both, at best, help us feel connected and loved.

I like that.

I’m thankful to be a part of the wonderful people in my life. I feel blessed with my family and friends. My young grandchildren and little nephews all make me smile. They are happy to celebrate anything.

Which is a good thing because our family is multi-cultural enough to create lots of opportunity for celebration.

Tomorrow, there will be yet another party in my home. Five young families, mostly multi-cultural themselves, will come together to hold on to the traditions of Judaism.

We’ll make “latkes”, the traditional potato pancakes associated with the holiday. We will play pin the candle on the “menorah,” the “candelabra” associated with the holiday.

We’ll tell the “miracle” story, light candles and talk about all the reasons we are thankful.

Then we’ll share a meal: the latkes, fruit, blintzes and some bagels.

The party will end with all the children holding hands in a circle, closing their eyes and making a wish for all good things in this next year for everybody, everywhere.

Happy Holidays,


Thanks for visiting,

Dr. Linda

Stay in touch with me at dr.linda@cox.net.


Thanks For Visiting,

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