Today citizens across the U.S.A. gather with friends and family to celebrate Thanksgiving. The roots of the holiday are told to extend back to the colonial period of this country and a peaceful meal shared between the Native Americans (whose diverse and vibrant society and culture lived across this land for centuries before the Europeans came) and the early colonists. There is some historical evidence that the first Thanksgiving in early October of 1621 around the time of Succot, our fall harvest festival. The consumption of fall foods, at a table filled with family, friends and guests both echo Succot. (A harevest festival in which we sit in booths decorated from the harvest, consuming harvest foods with ushpizin, guests joining us.)
A number of articles by colleagues and scholars detail these similarities.
Thanksgiving and Its Jewish Roots by Rabbi Alfredo
The first Jew to come to North America
Finding a Jewish Thanksgiving (Resources for all ages)
UPDATED link – Thanksgiving Roots in Jewish Holiday
What does Judaism say about celebrating secular holidays?
Overview to Secular Holidays
Is Thanksgiving Kosher? A Look at Jewish Law
Now for some Kosher Recipes for Thanksgiving
Recipes from About.com
UPDATED link – Give Thanksgiving a Jewish Flavor
May your celebration of this day be filled with love, joy, good food and friendship.
(see the next post for a prayer to share at your table)