As we approach this year's Thanksgiving, I asked some of the JWA staff members how far they've come—personally or politically, culturally or collectively—and how that's inspired a sense of gratitude. Here is a sampling from Etta King, Michelle Cash, Stephen Benson, and Ellen Rothman.
I cannot walk out of my house (or open my laptop) without being bombarded with suggestions for Hanukkah (this year, often Thanksgivukkah) merchandise. (Ironically, I am simultaneously presented with ads for “Catching Fire” themed goods, in contrast to the movie’s message.) The Hanukkah narrative has the power to be subversive; it is a story of a minority making themselves heard, of an oppressed group claiming their rights. When those of us who are privileged to be able to buy gifts (and menurkeys) focus on the commercial elements of the holiday at the expense of the holiday’s story, we create a bubble like the Capitol. Hanukkah should be a call to remind us that we should be the districts, not the Capitol; our power should be channeled into fighting injustice, not simply consuming what is provided to us.
Editors note: If you haven’t read The Hunger Games (or seen the movies), you’ll be safe from any major spoilers in this post from one of our Rising Voices Fellows. Be sure to check the JWA blog each Tuesday for a new post from our fellows—and check out the great educational resources provided by our partner organization, Prozdor.
In 2013 a miraculous thing happened. Thanksgiving and Haunkuah overlapped, and the whole world went crazy. The day was deemed Thanksgivukkah and quickly became a thing of legend. Songs popped up- some genuine, some parodies. Websites devoted to the day were designed. T-shirts in every shape and size celebrated the day. Even the Mayor of Boston proclaimed the day to be an official holiday.
And I bought a menorah shaped like a turkey—aka a menurkey .
I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday weekend. I certainly did, which is why I missed so many great posts and articles over the weekend. Here is a Thanksgiving weekend link roundup, just in case you missed them too.
Friday is StoryCorps' National Day of Listening. Since you can order your Making Trouble DVDs conveniently online at www.makingtrouble.com, there is no need to go shopping on Black Friday. Instead, join Storycorps and sit down with a loved one and record their story. Ellen wrote about the National Day of Listening last year, and explained why the tradition of listening is so important to Jews, especially in the context of Thanksgiving, a holiday important to many Americans with immigration histories.
Apropos of Ellen's comment about "what makes Thanksgiving so meaningful for some American Jews" in her prior post, I thought I'd share an excerpt from an article published in The American Jewessin November 1896.
"Do Jews celebrate Thanksgiving?" a friend's Catholic grandmother asked her the other day. "Of course, they do," she replied, rolling her eyes. Indeed, in many American Jewish families, Thanksgiving is observed with nearly as much sacredness as (in some cases, even more than) the High Holidays.