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Historic Hannukkah overlaps Thanksgiving
Members of the Krinsky family take photos and eat latkes after the annual lighting of the Menorah at the State House in Concord. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)
Rabbi Krinsky from Lubavitch of New Hampshire, leads the annual lighting of the Menorah to kick off Hanukkah at the State House Wednesday. Thomas Roy/Union Leader
For the first time since 1888 — and the last time until the year 79,811 according to the Jewish website www.chabad.org — the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hannukkah will coincide with the American observance of Thanksgiving. By contrast Hanukkah, which commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean military victory over the Syrians in 168 B.C., typically occurs closer to Christmas, in December.
Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November, and Nov. 28 is the latest that day can fall on a calendar. Nov. 28 is also the earliest possible start for Hannukkah.
In some ways, the holiday mashup is a natural fit. Jewish holidays often revolve around food, and Thanksgiving is built around a family feast. Traditionally, Hannukkah foods, such as latkes and jelly-filled doughnuts, are fried to commemorate the miracle of the oil.
"If Christmas has encouraged us to adopt gift-giving and show generosity, a great Jewish value, perhaps Thanksgiving can encourage us to express gratitude," writes Rabbi Eric Cohen of Temple Israel in his monthly newsletter. "Perhaps this Chanukah we might take time to really think about the things for which we are thankful, another wonderful Jewish value."
"This year we have eight days of Thanksgiving," said Davidson. "I couldn't think of a better match."
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