It’s not, strictly speaking, a “Jewish” holiday, but there’s plenty about this last Thursday in November that feels familiar. For many families, it’s definitely still a yom tov.
For those who celebrate, it can mean a day of cooking traditional foods such as turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie. Some watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade or perhaps a football game or three. It’s a laid-back holiday, made easier by the freedom to cook, use electronics and drive.
As Jews living in the U.S., we should be thankful for the many opportunities we have had in this incredible nation. There are few countries besides Israel where we have the ability to live our lives as publicly as we want as Jews.
We have a president who has done everything possible to enhance the U.S.-Israel friendship, including last week saying West Bank settlements are far from illegal.
And we live in a country where two Jews are currently running for the Democratic presidential nomination: former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. While it’s way too early to endorse either candidate, we’re pleased to know that in the U.S., a Jew can freely run on a national ticket. Thankfully, this is a nation where Jews can and do run for elected office on local, state and even national levels.
Certainly we are used to observing Shabbat each week with a special dinner and/or lunch that, like Thanksgiving, comes with words of gratitude and appreciation for Hashem and the Jewish people. But this day, like July 4th, Memorial Day and other American holidays, gives us an opportunity to feel united not just as a Jewish people, but also as people connected to other Americans who believe in the virtues of this nation.
But be careful if you’re going to the mall at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
Then, most importantly, have a wonderful Shabbat, our eternal day of Thanksgiving.