Today I got an email from Mark and David, with a call for more posts. Among the suggested headings was: Thanksgiving – the official holiday of BTs.
Hmmm, I didn’t realize it was “The” official holiday! But then again, I get it. For me, it’s more a matter of it being: “Thanksgiving – The Holiday where Turnabout is Fair Play.” When we got married, my wife and
her wonderful (FFB) family helped me with many of the Jewish holidays. I knew the basics of many of them, especially the major ones, but not the full details, and some I really had no clue about. But then I learned that they never celebrated Thanksgiving (other than my father-in-law having a turkey drumstick on the Friday following Thanksgiving). This was my one chance a year to show and explain to them information about a holiday they know very little about!
The first year or two, my wife and I didn’t really do much. But then my wife’s brother and sister, having some vacation time available around Thanksgiving, came down various years. So they, and my wife, wanted to
learn more about Thanksgiving. It gave me a chance to play a little turnabout and teach them about a holiday for a change. (I guess doing all those plays in elementary school paid off!!) My wife even went on the internet to research how to cook a turkey. It came out well, too! The following years I was able to add to the meals, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie (why is it hard to find parve pumpkin pie??), stuffing (also hard to find kosher stuffing!), etc.
It also felt nice because we had family with us, had a great dinner together, and didn’t have to worry about breaking Shabbos or Yom Tov rules. This year will be different, as my sister-in-law and her familyare now in Israel, and my brother-in-law won’t be able to make it down. But now my kids are old enough that I can start explaining some of the things to them. I already started talking to my 4 year old daughter about Thanksgiving over the weekend. We both came to the realization that this is the first non-Jewish holiday that we’ve discussed! And so the learning goes on for another generation.
Nice post; sounds like great family time!
There was a rabbi in my community who celebrated Thanksgiving with as much a following of the thanksgiving “halacha” as he would any Jewish Holiday.
This included, a full meal, print out sheets about the history of the holiday, watching the football games/parades, and a sort of seder about each food and why its part of the thanksgiving tradition. Then the rounds around the table for what you are thankful for.