Jewish center ready for convergence of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah
Menurkey. Thanksgivukkah. Hanugiving.
In anticipation of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapping this year, members of the Jewish community in Pittsburgh and across the nation have created new words and ways to celebrate the holiday.
“I think it's really very powerful that we can feel so blessed to be Americans and so blessed to be Jews right at the moment (the two holidays) come together,” said Rabbi Barbara Symons of Temple David in Monroeville.
It is predicted that it will be more than 77,000 years before the first day of Hanukkah once again will converge with Thanksgiving.
While some cultures' holidays are scheduled with a solar calendar, Jewish holidays are determined by the lunar cycle, which is what makes the occurrence so rare, Parkway Jewish Center President Bob Korfin said.
Members of the Chabad Jewish Center in Monroeville will build a menorah out of canned goods this year — coined a CANorah — as part of at their annual Hanukkah celebration, Rabbi Mendy Schapiro said.
“We hope to make it 6 feet tall, but it really depends on the amount of cans that come in,” Schapiro said.
Rabbi David Katz, 60, interim spiritual leader of Temple Ohav Shalom in McCandless, said he finds thematic parallels in the two holidays.
“It was religious freedom the Maccabees fought for,” Katz said. “The Pilgrims left their homeland for religious freedom.”
And both holidays are known for special foods.
Members of Temple David experimented with new recipes that combined traditional Jewish food with Thanksgiving staples, such as sweet potato latkes.
“For one week of the year, no one feels guilty about eating fried food,” Katz said.
“They eat doughnuts fried in oil in Israel. It's a wonderful excuse.”
The use of oil, especially in making potato latkes, or pancakes, is tied to the miracle in the ancient temple of a little oil lasting for eight days.
Members of the Women of Ohav Shalom sisterhood gathered in early November to test some recipes from the Internet that incorporate the observances of both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
About 20 women joined Ellen Sapinkopf, president of the organization, to prepare a cranberry-apple sauce and a version of sufganiyot, doughnuts filled with a pumpkin buttercream instead of the usual jelly.
“It's nice because both are family-oriented (holidays) and they both have their symbolic food,” Symons said.
Some Thanksgiving dinners this year will include a “menurkey,” which is a menorah in the shape of a turkey, Korfin said. “Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, so for (Jews) who live in America, it's a special day,” Korfin said.
Kyle Lawson and Dona S. Dreeland are staff writers for Trib Total Media Lawson can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or email@example.com. Dreeland can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.