Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shabbat-O-Gram November 27


 From last Sunday's Religious School Chanukah Challenge CLICK HERE for more photos

 This week's O-Gram is sponsored by Evan and Nancy Finchler in honor of Noah's becoming Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning

There's the December Dilemma and now the November Dilemma, but Thanksgivukkah Resolves the GREATEST Dilemma of all...which is, of course, whether to spell Hanukkah with an H or a CH.  This year, we spell it with an TH!  But with one K or two?  For the record, there are sixteen ways to spell Hanukkah.

Join us for services at 9 AM on Thursday AND Friday, at 7:30 on Friday night (I’d love to see some of our returning college students), when Beth Styles once again will join us for some fantastic music, and on Shabbat morning too, when Noah Finchler becomes Bar Mitzvah.  Mazal tov to Noah and family!

In the midst of all the holiday preparations, the agreement with Iran is causing considerable consternation and confusion among American Jews, myself included.  Most of those weighing in at this point are shedding more heat than light.  Since this IS rocket science, I think it best to rely on experts here rather than the opinions of pundits or politicians.  For those seeking more light and less heat, I suggest this collection of observations from the Brookings Institution, along with this analysis.

For your reading pleasure, especially for those waiting endlessly at airports, some Thanksgivukkah links - and please do not read these while driving!

Photo album from last Sunday’s TBE Religious School Chanukah Challenge (the kids had an incredible time with a dreidel spinning contest, human menorahs, and more!)

Light My Fire Hanukkah App from the Jewish Museum - the coolest way to light up your smart phone or tablet!

From UJA-Federation  New York:
  • Dress a turkey (PDF) in a variety of costumes, from Batman to Elvis, or design your own.
  • Color a variety of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holiday icons (PDF). Then search for those icons in a Thanksgivukkah word search (PDF).
  • Decorate a dreidel (PDF), then print it out and play a game or two with family and friends.
  • Give thanks for the things that make you happy while you color a menorah (PDF).
  • Thanksgivukkah is a great opportunity to blend the culinary traditions of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Draw your favorite food (PDF) in a frying pan, and hope that it appears on the table!

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for reflection. Give thanks for the things you are grateful for and acknowledge the important role that Jewish tradition plays in your life with a Thanksgivukkah service (PDF).

After the Feast
Once the turkey is done, it's time to light the menorah. Keep the Thanksgivukkah theme going by creating a pumpkin menorah for your celebration and lighting it with help from a menorah lighting guide (PDF).

Some easy ways to "green" your Hanukkah gifts.

Leftovers are a tradition that everyone can get behind. Make the most of your "day after" dinner with Thanksgivukkah Knishes With Cranberry Mustard, adapted from a recipe by Shannon Sarna.

From MyJewishLearning

From Israel 21c:
An Ideal Convergence of Holidays - Stamford Board of Rabbis
While American Jews are familiar with the so called "December Dilemma," when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide, we only rarely confront "November Nirvana," when Thanksgiving and the eight-day festival of Hanukkah overlap. This abnormally early Hanukkah will actually have a seven-hour head start, as the first candle will be lit at sundown on Wednesday. According to some calculations, the next time the two holidays will intersect in this manner will be in 79,000 years. This year's calendrical anomaly is truly significant.
This convergence of holidays, whimsically dubbed Thanksgivukkah, is a match made in heaven. Both holidays are incredibly popular and widely practiced. Both celebrate a small band of deeply religious people who successfully regained precious freedoms and then forged new rituals with which to mark their gratitude to God. And ironically, both holidays can be traced to a common root -- the eight-day biblical festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), which both the Pilgrims and Maccabees used as a model for their new celebrations.
The 19th century Hassidic master, Nachman of Bratslav, wrote that "The days of Chanukah are days of Thanksgiving." Indeed, our Hanukkah prayers conclude by defining the festival as a time "to offer thanksgiving and praise."
This year, the American Jewish community is blessed to celebrate both holidays simultaneously, to eat our traditional potato latkes (pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts) along with turkey, cranberry sauce and pie. Even with the mashed potatoes taking the year off, we could well break all time records for cholesterol consumption this Thursday.
As children, we dress up as Pilgrims and Native-Americans and many participate in grade-school dramatizations. The story of the Maccabees with the dreidels (tops), the olive oil and the Syrian-Greek soldiers are part of our dramatic culture as well. The Pilgrims traveled to a faraway and dangerous land for their freedoms; the Maccabees were compelled to fight for theirs. And there is no contradiction, only added value.
To top it off, while Thanksgiving offers a cornucopia of choices for the American sports fan, the Maccabees became the very model of the Jewish athlete; Israel's most famous basketball team and the quadrennial Jewish Olympics have adopted that name. Whether on the playing field or at the dining room table, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are indeed perfect together.
We offer our most heartfelt gratitude to God for our Jewish holiday celebrating the miracle of light and freedom, while at the same time recalling the plight of the Pilgrims and their thanksgiving meal with their new neighbors. The word Jew actually means to give thanks. Today we proudly display our Jewish and American identities together by offering our appreciation to God for all of our bounty and blessing. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Happy Chanksgivukah! 
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

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