Jewish American ex patriots living in Israel and abroad will have a special treat this year as the American secular holiday of Thanksgiving and the beautiful Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, will occur together in unique calendar coincidence that will not happen again for more than 77,000 years.
Whether families combine traditional Thanksgiving roast turkey and cranberry sauce with Hanukkah latkes (potato pancakes) with apple sauce will be at each family’s discretion. Since some families celebrating the joint events are vegetarian, the traditional Thanksgiving meal can have meaning to vegetarians and vegans too.
An article published in the Toronto Star, America’s friendly Canadian neighbor to the north, mentioned that this super rare and probably once only joint event on November 28 will not occur again until the secular year 79,034.
Hanukkah, which begins each year on the 25th of the Hebrew month of Kislev, is a eight day festival on which candles are lit each night to commemorate the miracle victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the Greek Seleucids in 164 BCE.
The festival also tells how a tiny amount of holy oil found in the rededicated Temple in Jerusalem burned continuously for eight days. This is why fried foods like the latkeh potato pancakes and jelly donuts known as “suvganiot” are eaten, to commemorate this oil.
As a result of the two holidays occurring together, Jews in both Israel and the USA have given the “hybrid” holiday a special name: Thanksgivukkah. While more excitement of the two concurring holidays appears to be more prominent in the USA, a number of Israel’s approximate population of 185,000 expat Americans and descendants will celebrate the joint holiday too.
From a green or environmental standpoint, whether expat families in Israel choose to order a turkey this year could depend a lot on how they may have been effected by the recent Kolbotek consumer watch dog program that revealed how turkeys and other poultry have been seriously abused prior to being slaughtered at one of Israel’s largest poultry slaughterhouses, Solgevick.
Another environmental issue also stems from whether lighting so many Hanukkah candles contributes to Climate change and global warming.
Expat vegetarians and vegans who refrain from eating meat and other animal products will still have plenty of food items to enjoy, including the traditional Hanukkah latkes.
This also holds true for traditional Thanksgiving foods like squashes and quiches, potato and other vegetable dishes. Even traditional pumpkin pie, made from a local squash cousin of the American pumpkin, known in Israel as “d’laat” will grace many tables. The traditional Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, if one finds it in time, is also great with Hanukkah latkes as well.
As to what the world will like in 79,043, we might all take heed from the 1969 pop hit; In the Year 2525 by the pop rock duo Zager and Evans
More on Hanukkah, Thanksgiving and similar harvest festivals celebrated in Israel: