Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Jewish Thanksgiving?

With so much hardship across the world, and even here in the USA we have so much to be thankful for. Here are just a few (from the 2001 AJC Thanksgiving Haggadah):

We are thankful for the freedom from hunger.
We are thankful for the freedom to worship.
We are thankful for the freedom to challenge our minds.
We are thankful for the freedom to change our minds.
We are thankful for the freedom to chart our lives.
We are thankful for the freedom to work for a better world.
We are thankful for the freedom to celebrate this day.
Did you catch that? Go back and read it again. Yep: A Thanksgiving Haggadah.
"Wait...isn't the haggadah for Pesach?"
Thanksgiving is truly an American holiday. Whether your family came to this country 200 years ago, 20 years ago, or 2 years ago, it’s a celebration that’s easy to embrace. Sharing a meal and a feeling of gratitude transcends racial, ethnic and social boundaries. We may all eat different foods, we may speak a multitude of dialects and languages, but on this day, we share in the best that is America…For American Jews, it is another opportunity to share in a meal similar to the Passover Seder. And similar to that Seder, in which we tell the story of our people’s journey out of slavery in Egypt, on this night we tell the story of our own journeys to this country. Because of its lack of religious particularity, this is an excellent opportunity to share the feast with both Jewish and non-Jewish family and friends.”  - Rabbi Phyllis A. Sommer (author of the 3 different Thanksgiving sederim provided in the first link below)
Jews have a very distinct way of living, of praying and even of celebrating. Here are few different resources to help make your American Thanksgiving a bit more Jewish:
The official Reform blog offers 3 different Thanksgiving sederim (based off of the Passover Haggadah).
Click here to download this year’s American Jewish Committee’s Thanksgiving reader (interfaith, interracial and inter-ethnic in design).
And lastly, here is a short Thanksgiving seder using siddur Sim Shalom.

May your time with loved ones be full of blessings and wonderful memories.

“Happy Thanksgiving” from us here at Gathering Sparks!!

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