Hanukkah and Thanksgiving Take Place at the Same Time This Year, So Celebrate Thanksgivukkah

(Photo: Myles Standish re-enactor at the Plimouth Plantation, via Thanksgivukkah)

In 167 B.C., Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the ruler of the Seleucid Empire, tried to compel the Jews in Judah to give up their religious customs and values. They rose up in rebellion for seven years in what became known as the Maccabean Revolt. Once they liberated Jerusalem, they set about purifying the Temple. This eight day event is marked by the Jewish festival of Hanukkah.

This year, Hanukkah lasts from November 27 to December 5. The American Christian (albeit secularized) holiday of Thanksgiving marks a 1621 feast celebrated by the colonists at Plymouth, Massachusetts. It falls on November 28 this year. For the first time since 1888, the two holidays overlap. Some Americans have taken to calling November 28 “Thanksgivukkah.” The event is inspiring creative responses among celebrants:

Not to be outdone is Asher Weintraub, a 9-year-old New Yorker who has created what he dubs the Menurkey—a menorah, the candelabrum that is the centerpiece of the holiday, in the shape of a turkey. With help from his filmmaker parents, Asher funded his project with a successful $25,000 campaign on Kickstarter, a fundraising website, over the summer (it netted $48,345). The family is now hoping to sell as many as 2,500 of his creation in versions both ceramic (for $150) and plaster ($50).

The Weintraubs are also expanding on the concept in other ways, from a Menurkey iPhone app to a Menurkey theme song. Sample lyric: "Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, come light the Menurkey. Once in a lifetime, the candles meet the turkey."

Part of what's driving the Thanksgivukkah fervor is that Hanukkah is a holiday "with room for creativity," says Jennie Rivlin Roberts, founder of ModernTribe.com, an online store that specializes in contemporary Jewish items. Ms. Roberts own contribution? A game called No Limit Texas Dreidel that she started marketing in 2007—it is a modern take on the holiday pastime of spinning the dreidel, a kind of Hanukkah-themed top. […]

Synagogues and Jewish organizations are also joining in the Thanksgivukkah chorus. In Boston, Combined Jewish Philanthropies, a local fundraising group, has created a website, ThanksgivukkahBoston.com, to promote the holiday and suggest ways to celebrate it (one example: making Hanukkah-themed corn-husk dolls). As project director Jeff Levy explains, the occasion is too significant to go unheeded. "This is like the new millennium," he says.

At Temple Beth Sholom in Santa Ana, Calif., synagogue member Hollis O'Brien, a caterer, is leading a Thanksgivukkah cooking class at the end of October, replete with recipe tips for such hybridized holiday dishes as sweet-potato latkes and a Jewish-style brisket with a cranberry glaze. And since doughnuts are also popular at Hanukkah as part of the holiday's emphasis on oil and fried foods, Ms. O'Brien has plans to showcase them as well. "Usually, I fill them with strawberry jelly, but this year, I'm going to use pumpkin cream," she says.

-via Today Show

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You confused me. :p (I'm a Canadian who celebrates Thanksgiving this weekend. I was wondering why Hanukkah was so early this year that it was in October.)
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