Thanksgiving meets Chanukah
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman
This year, American Thanksgiving falls on the first day of Chanukah. It only happened once before, in 1888. And it's impossible to determine when or if this will ever happen again.
There's got to be some connection between Thanksgiving and Chanukah, something that's speaking to us especially this year. Why? Because the Baal Shem Tov taught us that everything a person sees or hears is meant to be a lesson in life. So, when something as striking as a convergence of celebrations comes up, we need to figure out what it's telling us.
The Wrong Match?
Actually, if you're looking for a Jewish thanksgiving, it's Sukkot. Sukkot is the original Biblical Thanksgiving. The Torah calls it The Festival of Ingathering-in other words, when all the crops, fruits included, have been gathered in. At that point, we gather for seven days to show our thankfulness. After we left Egypt, Sukkot also became a festival to celebrate the divine protection we enjoyed for forty years in the wilderness. And that protection continues to this day. Sukkot never coincides with Thanksgiving. That's a good thing. On Sukkot, we sit outdoors in a makeshift hut-not necessarily the way you would want to end November if you lived in, say, Portland, Maine.
When you think about it, Thanksgiving has more to do with Chanukah than any other holiday.
But here we have Chanukah lining up with Thanksgiving. And when you think about it, Thanksgiving has more to do with Chanukah than any other holiday.
Beyond Corn & Watermelons
Thanksgiving is not your typical harvest festival. It's about more than bumper crops and giant watermelons. Thanksgiving comes packed with a deep narrative-what Peter Gomes calls the "American sense of mythic past.1" It's a narrative about an arduous journey to escape religious persecution for freedom in a new land, the establishment of a democratic charter and the sense of Divine providence that carried those refugees through their plight. Thanksgiving & Chanukah are both deep narratives in a nation's collective consciousness. That's Chanukah, as well: a narrative deeply embedded in the collective Jewish psyche of how we fought back against religious oppression in our own land, earned our freedom and thanked G-d for the miracles.
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This week's commentary on the convergence of Chanukah and Thanksgiving were taken from chabad.org
for additional insights on this week's parsha and others, visit The JTS Torah Commentary archive: http://www.jtsa.edu
May Their Memories Be For a Blessing
11/29/2013 (26 Kislev)
Dr. David Benjamin Levy
11/30/2013 (27 Kislev)
Saul Charles Dorfman
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Steven Lawrence Beale
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Donald Irwin Kapetansky
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Ela Osher Dzodin
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12/26/2013 (23 Tevet)
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12/30/2013 (27 Tevet)
Harriett J. Beale
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MITZVAH DAY 2013: December 25th
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HAPPY CHANUKAH AND HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
PLEASE VIEW SPECIAL MINYAN TIMES FOR THE WEEKEND LISTED BELOW.*
Friday, November 29th
6 p.m. Minha/Kabbalat Shabbat/Maariv, Sanctuary
Saturday, November 30th
9 a.m. Services, Sanctuary
10 a.m., Supervised Youth Activities Room 3 for ages 12 and under.
Kiddush Lunch is sponsored by Karen and Allan Lovinger in honor of the birth of their granddaughter, Alexandra Miriam Barrett, daughter of Lauren and Ryan Barrett.
SHABBAT SHIUR FUTURE DATES (prior to minha)
11/30, 12/28, 1/25, 2/22, 3/29, 5/10, 6/21.
*Kiddush Lunch is available through the generosity of weekly sponsors. Please e-mail or call the synagogue office if you would like to sponsor a kiddush lunch. You may also make a donation to the synagogue specifically for the Kiddush Lunch Fund by clicking here.
THANKSGIVING MINYAN TIMES
Thursday 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Friday 7 a.m. (Torah reading for Chanukah) and 6 p.m.
Sunday, 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
YOUR ASSISTANCE IS GREATLY APPRECIATED.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND HAPPY CHANUKAH TO ALL!
Upcoming Youth and Family Activities
B'nai Israel Synagogue
(we don't believe in any) Idol(s) Talent Show
December 14th, 6:45 p.m., TKA/BI Social Hall
Upcoming Shabbat Youth Activities
SHABBAT CHILDREN'S WORKSHOP DATES for youth ages 7-12.
30 minutes of tefilla and parsha fun.
10-10:45 a.m., ROOM 9
Future Dates: DECEMBER 14TH,
MAY 3 (10:30 A.M.)
SHABBAT TEEN ACTIVITIES
D'VAR TORAH COCOA CAFE for ages 13-17,
Social HallListen to the D'var Torah in the main sanctuary, then give your take over cocoa and cider. Kiddush lunch following, with Spirited singing and Birkat Hamazon led by teens.
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
DECEMBER 14TH, JANUARY 11TH, JANUARY 25TH, FEBRUARY 1ST, MARCH 1ST, APRIL 5TH, MAY 3RD
SHABBAT ACTIVITIES FOR CHILDREN AGES 3-5 COMING SOON!
To stay current on all youth and family activities, contact Ilana Glazier to join the B'nai Israel Families Facebook Group.
Upcoming Community Events
and TKA/BI Joint Opportunities
Chanukah Unplugged: A Family Celebration
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
6 p.m."Family Evening at BI Minyan,"Chapel
6:30 - 8 p.m., Social Hall
Candle-lighting, Jerusalem Pizza Dinner, Singing and Activities, with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow and Barrett Harr, NFTY-MI Regional Director of Youth Engagement
ADVANCED RESERVATIONS BY DECEMBER 2ND, $10/family, all ages welcome.
click here for reservation form
Knitting has returned!
All stitchers are welcome.
7 p.m., Meet in the TKA/BI Library.
December 4th, January 7th
JCC Maccabi Games and ArtsFest 2014
August 17-22 in Detroit!
Tryouts wil be in December. For dates and times visit
or contact Franci Silver, local delegation head at
28 Paula Levy
1 Michael Wolf
3 Harrison Feber
3 Fred Shuback
4 Rabbi Mark Robbins
4 Cindy Victor
5 Christopher Beider
6 Jacob Abramson
6 Robyn Canvasser
6 Michelle Kappy
8 Shay Finn
8 Judith Lawson
8 David Margolis
9 Brandon Beider
9 Andrew Serlin
14 Miriam Lupovitch
15 Michael Balkin
15 Bernice Friedman
15 Louis Soverinsky
16 Sydney Gordon
16 David Victor
17 Jolie Gittleman
18 Benjamin Canvasser
22 Lori Orel
22 Kelli Rosen
23 Joyce Breitman
26 Linda Baruch
26 Shelli Dorfman
26 Steve Myers
28 Richard Wonboy
30 David Ruskin
30 Michael & Betsy Wolf
2 Robert & Robyn Canvasser
16 Joseph & Carrie Roth
19 David and Dianne Victor
20 Alan & Gaye Taub
25 Sy & Pearl Manello
26 Frank & Lisa Ellias
30 Mitch & Cheryl Parker
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Monday, December 9th
7 p.m., TKA/BI Chapel. All are welcome.
For questions regarding sisterhood, e-mail Betsy Wolf @
"Reflections on the Siddur," with Dr. Mitch Parker
Saturdays, 11-11:45 a.m.
November 23 December 7, 14
Mitch will focus on Ashrei, Aleinu, the Kaddish, Adon Olam, Yigdal, Hallel and Birkat Hamazon.
Class meets in the lower level, Room 9.
Lunch and Learn Series
with Hillel Buechler, Ramah Fellow
First Tuesday of every month
First session: 12:15 p.m., December 3rd
Topic: "Ancient Shabbat Stories."
Meet at Barnes and Noble on Orchard Lake Road
Bring your own lunch. There is no charge to attend.
Shabbat Shiur Series
Shabbat Afternoons, last Saturday of the month following lunch and prior to minha. Shiur (class) will meet in the chapel. All our welcome. There is no charge to attend.
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B'nai Israel Synagogue is affiliated with USCJ,
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