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The Suburbanite
  • Thursday is Thanksgivukkah, a once-in-a-lifetime convergence

  • Akron-Canton Airport is now taking part in the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck program, an expedited security screening that lets preapproved travelers move through security faster.
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    • Facts about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
      • Thanksgiving was a tradition even before America became a country. European rulers frequently declared certain days as occasions of thanks. The American holiday is based on a fea...
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      Facts about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
      • Thanksgiving was a tradition even before America became a country. European rulers frequently declared certain days as occasions of thanks. The American holiday is based on a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and their and Wampanoag Indian neighbors in Plymouth, Mass., to celebrate the settlers' one-year survival in the New World.

      • Before it became a holiday, Thanksgiving proclamations frequently were issued by such national leaders as Gen. George Washington.

      • President Abraham Lincoln was lobbied by Sara J. Hale to establish Thanksgiving as an official holiday. In 1863, Lincoln proclaimed the holiday to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November; warring Confederate states ignored the proclamation.

      • In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a Congressional resolution changing Thanksgiving from the last Thursday of November to the fourth Thursday. Critics accused Roosevelt of changing the date to accommodate the Christmas shopping season.

      • Rabbi A.J. Kushner of Agudas Achim Synagogue in Canton says Hanukkah is significant for women.

      "This holiday has a very special place for women," he said. "The beginning of the victory happened through a woman, Judith."

      According to the story, when the Greek-Syrian King Antiochus spied Judith, who was Jewish, he commanded her to spend the night with him. Judith packed a satchel with cheese and wine, to feed Antiochus. When the king got drunk and fell asleep, she cut off his head.

      SOURCES: www.plimothplantation. com; www.historychannel.com
  • This year, Thanksgiving will be a once-in-a-lifetime event for America's Jewish community. For the first time since 1889, Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah — the Jewish Festival of Lights — fall on the same day.
    It's prompted a new term, "Thanksgivukkah."
    Rabbi Jon Adland of Temple Israel said what makes the convergence of the holidays unprecedented is that it won't occur again on Nov. 28 for another 79,000 years.
    "It's a once-in-a-celebrated-lifetime opportunity," he said, laughing.
    Adland noted that while Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have occurred in the same week, they haven't landed on the same day for more than a century, in part because Thanksgiving wasn't an official U.S. holiday until President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation in 1863.
    Adland said Hanukkah and Thanksgiving have much in common in their respective meanings.
    Thanksgiving is uniquely American in that it's a federal holiday, solely designated to give thanks.
    Hanukkah is an eight-day festival that commemorates the rebel Maccabees' recapture of the Jewish temple in 165 BCE after it had been desecrated in 168 BCE by the Syrian-Greek King Antiochus IV.
    According to the apocryphal story (which is not in the Torah), the Maccabees had a one-night supply of kosher oil for a temple light that was required to burn all night, every night. The oil miraculously lasted for eight nights, giving them time to acquire a fresh supply.
    "It's an important holiday, but it's not a major holiday," Adland said of Hanukkah. "But it has an important meaning to it. It has the same message as the American Thanksgiving. Hanukkah is about freedom and the ability to worship as we choose."
    Rabbi A.J. Kushner of Agudas Achim Synagogue agrees, adding that Antiochus' goal was not to kill the Jews, but to strip them of their religion and culture.
    "We have a special prayer that is said twice a year; one is for Hanukkah, one for Purim," Kushner said. "Basically, we thank God for all the miracles and victories and mighty deeds. We emphasize a lot of giving thanks for what has happened to us and where we are today. We recognize we're in danger, and that without special help, we wouldn't have gotten through.
    "What is Thanksgiving? Every day, we have to give thanks."
    So, how did "Thanksgivukkah" happen? Well, it's complicated.
    MATH PROBLEM
    The Jewish calendar is a lunar/solar calendar that operates on a 19-year cycle, Adland said.
    "On the 17th year of the cycle, the calendar pushes Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) as early as it can," he said. "This year, it fell on Sept. 4."
    The two holidays won't cross paths again because the Jewish calendar is falling out of sync with the solar calendar by four days every 100 years.
    Page 2 of 2 - There is a fixed number of days between Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah, which always is celebrated on the 25th day of the month of Kislev, which happens this year to be on Thanksgiving.
    The next time Hanukkah lands on Nov. 28 will be the year 2146, which will be a Monday. After that, the next time it falls on Thursday, Nov. 28, will be in the year 79,811.
    Kushner said that having Hanukkah and Thanksgiving together is like "the cherry on top of the cake."
    "In my family, I ordered a 'menurkey,' " Adland said with a smile. Yep, a turkey-shaped menorah.
    Because of the juxtaposition of holidays, some people will serve kosher turkey.
    "What makes anything kosher is it has to be slaughtered and inspected by someone who's trained," Adland said.
    Kushner is trained to inspect the kosher-food process. This week, he said, he was at Biery Cheese.
    "When they have a kosher run, it requires a rabbinic supervisor," he said.
    SAVING GRACE
    Frank Ranalli, vice president of operations for Fishers Foods, said the store at 4403 Cleveland Ave. NW not only offers kosher turkeys, it has a kosher bakery.
    "We have a significant amount of customers that shop our 44th Street store that keep kosher," he said. "It's the store that has our largest selection of kosher items. The Jewish community appreciates it."
    Hanukkah is celebrated by the nightly lighting of candles displayed in a candle holder known as a menorah. There also are exchanges of small gifts, along with games and such special foods as potato latkes.
    This year, some people are making sweet-potato latkes, with cranberry sauce.
    Because of its proximity to Christmas, most non-Jews are aware of Hanukkah. When it comes to its commercialization, Adland said, there seems to be less of a problem in the Midwest. The saving grace for Jewish holidays, he said, is that they're observed by Jewish people, but usually not others.
    "People who aren't even Christian put up a Christmas tree," he said.
    Reach Charita at 330-580-8313 or charita.goshay@cantonrep.com
    On Twitter: @cgoshayREP