Traditions intersect as Hanukkah begins

  • Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center kindles the first light of a 9-foot tall Menorah commemorating the first night of Chanukah during the Montgomery Village Chanukah Festival in Santa Rosa, Calif., on November 27, 2013. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

The once-in-many-lifetimes convergence of Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah struck Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky as a fitting melding of an ancient tradition with one a bit more modern.

"I think it's beautiful because they really do share a theme," he said, standing among about 70 people who gathered at sunset Wednesday in Montgomery Village to light the first two candles of the menorah.

"They are both about giving thanks to God for the blessings, so it seems very apropos that they would meet on the calendar," he said.

Hanukkah Festival At Montgomery Village


'Tis a meeting that won't happen again very soon.

Debate is rampant over when, exactly, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah will again fall on the same day, with some saying it will take a century and others saying it won't happen for 70,000 years.

"It's once in a lifetime," said Miriah Kellison of Santa Rosa.

Kellison, who is Jewish, and her sister will today don "Thanksgivukkah" aprons and lay a feast mixing the two traditions. She'll serve Manischewitz-brined turkey, a cranberry-apple sauce combination, latkes, rye-pumpkin pie, challah and rugelach.

"It really was fun to be creative with it and do something we don't normally do," she said.

Many celebrants said that because Hanukkah is not one of the most holy of Jewish holidays, it was a comfortable mix to intermingle Hanukkah traditions with those established for Thanksgiving in the hundreds of years since pilgrims established the American tradition in the early 17th century.

The menorah, a candelabra with one central candle and eight additional prongs, is the main symbol of Hanukkah. During the eight nights of Hanukkah, believers light a candle each night, marking a miracle they believe occurred about 2,000 years ago.

comments powered by Disqus
© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View