Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Hanukkah From Our Kids: A message from Our Kids CEO and President, Fran Allegra

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and staff of Our Kids, we wish you all a wonderful, safe and delicious Thanksgiving Holiday.  We hope you and your families enjoy this unique and great American holiday. 

Thanksgiving is extra special this year because it also marks the first day of Hanukkah – something that has not happened for generations and something that will not happen again in our lifetime.

If you are traveling, we wish you all safe travels.  If you remain in town, consider yourselves lucky that your family celebration does not involve standing in line at an airport or sailing aboard the Mayflower (66 days and rough seas).

Some see this year’s historic calendrical accident as an opportunity to teach a lesson about a totally different part of American and Jewish history. Since both holidays have something to do with people seeking religious freedom.

In November 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. After the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the historic banquet’s exact menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event, and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer.

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

This year matches a very early Hanukkah with the latest possible Thanksgiving. Depending on whose calculations you read, the next times there would be any overlap in the holidays would be in 2070 and in 2165 — and maybe not again for thousands of years.

We look forward to seeing you again next week rested and recharged (just in time for more holidays).

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