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Why I don’t celebrate thanksgiving

I know your probably expecting some answer like my Rabbis and pretty much every person in the right wing frum world says “we give thanks every day” but thats not really it. The truth is I am lazy and just don’t feel the need to celebrate. What most people do anyway is far from any sort of celebration, people are off work and they eat a big meal then sit down on the couch and watch football or go to the movies. How is that any different from a Sunday afternoon after church and breakfast at I-hop. Seems like the same thing to me.

In my opinion attending a meal for thanksgiving isn’t really celebrating- you know how many times I have heard divrei thanksgiving at a meal? Or people even mentioning why we are giving thanks? None- never, nadda, zilch- you just dont hear folks philosophizing about thanksgiving much, sure I can philosophize about stuffing (I love the stuff- no pun intended) but the only time I ever hear people giving their incite about thanksgiving is when they bemoan the fact that thanksgiving was probably done after a day of Native killing and land stealing.

I was going to be treating this thanksgiving like any other, I probably would have done some blogging, rode my bike and maybe hopped in my kayak, but while in shul yesterday (might I add that I have attended more weekday shul in Dallas during my 1-1/2 week stay here – than during my entire 8 months in Monsey) I was invited to a Thanksgiving meal by some native Texans who are very jolly folks judging from the 3 minute conversation that transpired.

So I guess if you call having a grand old meal with some people I never really met, celebrating Thanksgiving I may actually be doing it this year.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Do you not? Why yes or why not?

{ 49 comments… add one }
  • Toronto Yid November 26, 2008, 10:41 PM

    Canadian Jews don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. which Canada observes in October. I’m talking across the religious spectrum. It’s pretty much a non-event.

    I always wondered why American Jews even Orthodox ones seem to “religiously” observe it with the turkey etc. My theory is that it’s part of the melting pot idea of the US and immigrants to the US wanted to show themselves as Yankee as the Yankees.

    In Canada, the government encourages a more multi-cultural celebration, so that you see in the papers and the news celebration of Italian, Greek holidays. And of course on Chanukah, Chabad is really out there with Chanukiot at every possible public location (do they do that in the US too?)

  • coolyiddishemama November 26, 2008, 11:15 PM

    Read my post I put up a couple hours ago.

  • Batya November 27, 2008, 12:38 AM

    Besides all the “yay yay America” stuff, I think that a lot of frum Americans celebrate Thanksgiving for the pragmatic reason that it’s a day one can travel to relatives for a meal, none of the halachik restrictions.

    When I was growing up Thanksgiving was an occassion to crowd into a tiny one bedroom walkup in Brooklyn with all my mother’s family. When I became religious I ate first at kosher venues. Once we moved to Israel, I never thought about celebrating it, since it wasn’t Thanksgiving without all my cousins.

  • ipitythefoo November 27, 2008, 2:19 AM

    Well aside from being a pleasant meal with my extended family (okay a loud meal with a fight and some emotional trauma) I think it is a fair gesture of reonition to the cuntry that essentally gave us aylum and allowed Jews to benefit from capitalism. 100 years ago Eastern European Jews livedin slums with minorities – where are we now socio-eonomically?
    Morever, we have freedom of speech and religion.
    I’m down wih that.

  • Frum Satire November 27, 2008, 2:43 AM

    There should be some sort of persumay nisa for thanksgiving from Jews to show that. Maybe some sort of mitzvah mobile buying Turkey parade. Or maybe not…

  • Rivky November 27, 2008, 4:36 AM

    @TorontoYid I’m not sure where in the community you live, but I was born and raised in Toronto and know lots of Jewish families who celebrate Thanksgiving (across the religious spectrum, as well), as long as it doesn’t conflict (as it sometimes does) with the high holydays. I have “secular” cousins who belong to Holy Blossom who have a big Thanksgiving meal every year. It’s interesting that your Toronto experience is quite different to mine.

    I can only comment about the Chabad chanukiot around the area I live now (London) and New York – they’re everywhere, and I’ve even heard rumours of a chanukiot in Trafalgar Square, although I didn’t see it last year. There’s a big one that goes up every year by the entrance to the Golders Green tube. I know it’s not the US, but I’ve seen just as many in London as I did in Toronto (like the one that goes up in front of Old City Hall – Bay/Queen courthouse – every year). Even Dublin, Ireland has one. 🙂

  • Chris_B November 27, 2008, 4:47 AM

    Though there is no Thanksgiving Day in Japan, I’m thankful for the freedom of religion imposed upon Japan by the constitution drafted by General MacArthur.

  • Batya November 27, 2008, 5:45 AM

    Sorry, but the US quotas and their refusing Jews fleeing the Nazis cancels all the “America is great” #$!%%&!

  • utubefan November 27, 2008, 7:46 AM

    Batya, get to know some history. That’s part of it. If you can’t appreciate the freedoms this nation has afforded us, then you need to take a class, surf the web, get educated about what we have been able to accomplish here for the last 300 years. This is a great nation. I am so sorry young people are so disaffected and disconnected with it. Right now we have a serious hostage situation in Mumbai with our people in grave danger. I hope the Mumbai police and army have what it takes to end this thing. America is a great place (flawed like everything else) but great. A safe haven.

  • Jacob da Jew November 27, 2008, 7:46 AM

    dude, you’re so full of it.

    You dont do thanksgiving simply becuase you’re single and most people you know dont do da turkey thing. Given that you’re the heshman, the minute an invite opened up..BAM! you’re there stuffing your face with stuffing. So dont hock “I dont celebrate”

  • A23 November 27, 2008, 9:14 AM

    If only you utilized the jump (“Read More”) in your long divrei torah.

  • She's Nameless Faceless November 27, 2008, 9:42 AM

    I have a love-hate relationship with Thanksgiving – love because it’s a fantastically hysterical reminder of why I’ll never bring anyone home to my huge immigrant family of eaters, but someone hate because someone’s got to Cinderella all those dishes you licked clean. Since that’s usually me, I invariably end up thinking fondly about Yom Kippur once or twice.

  • Left Brooklyn November 27, 2008, 1:20 PM

    Batya, I understand your anger over the lack of admission of Jews into the US during WW2. If you know US history of that period, then you would know that the US government imprisoned US citizens in concentration camps and the nation was silent.

    Many mistakes were made, not just then but throughout the history of our republic. But the overall good out weighs the bad.

  • Frum Satire November 27, 2008, 1:20 PM

    A23 I am going to be doing the read more from now on- I think it makes things more user friendly.

    Jacob Da Jew- I think you missed the whole point of the post- the point was that me having a big meal and stuffing my face is not necessarily celebrating thanksgiving and I am not sure how to do that.

  • Batya November 27, 2008, 3:27 PM

    ut, I’ve probably lived through more history than you know, so watch out when you’re critizing others. Americans speak “with forked tongues” as the saying goes.
    When Hesh asked about US public schools, I didn’t describe the anti-semitism. America is far from perfect. True, Israel has lots of problems, but if I’m going to use my energy to try to fix things, I’d rather do it here–in Israel.

  • boroparkchic.blogspot.com November 27, 2008, 3:33 PM

    Thanksiving??here in boro park we “Give tenks” we also Give gelt, give petch, and give off a fake impression

  • Phil November 27, 2008, 7:02 PM

    I agree with Toronto yid, Canadian frum Jews don’t celebrate thanksgiving at all. I “celebrated” by paying my maid for not coming to work (I’m forced to by Canadian law), yipeee.

    First time I was in the US for thanksgiving was when I was invited to some people in Albany for a Friday night dinner. It happened to be thanksgiving, my Canadian buddy and I were shocked that frum Jews were celebrating a “goyish” holiday with turkey and all. To us, it was just as bad a someone celebrating haloween or Xmas. Only later on did we realize that many American Jews celebrate thanksgiving.


    I’m surprised you don’t celebrate. After reading so many of your posts about food, I would have guessed that thanksgiving would be your favorite, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pecan pie and all.

  • iCE hORSE November 27, 2008, 7:32 PM

    Once again…..Im sick of ignorant frum jews that celebrate Thanksgiving. Its a well known fact that in the early 1800s, the police used to take off on Thanksgiving just for the sake of killing innocent Jews. There used to be all kinds of pogroms that would happen. Jewish blood was flowing in the streets! This even started up again in the sixties in northern Florida for about a year or 2 but Nixon put a stop to it. How can one celebrate on a day when our fellow yidden were mercilessly slaughtered????

  • Frum Satire November 27, 2008, 9:47 PM

    Phil what I am saying is I don’t really count having just a meal and watching football as celebrating- I did just have a great meal with some great 8th generation Americans of the south. Will write about it soon.

  • Left Brooklyn November 27, 2008, 11:09 PM

    Batya, that is all well and good. But the IDF is succesfull (and Israel exists through Yad Elohim) and American weapons and systems .

  • Batya November 27, 2008, 11:30 PM

    LB, “American weapons and systems ,” because US “aid” consists of support America shopping coupons which undermine Israeli military industry.

    Read the fine print.

  • Mikeinmidwood November 27, 2008, 11:47 PM

    To those who are against Thanksgiving.

    Stop giving excuses why you dont buy the over priced turkey.

  • Left Brooklyn November 28, 2008, 3:10 PM

    Batya, you are correct and it is an in direct subsidy to the US manufacturers. But the the tune of $10,000,000+/day in aid (most of it will never have to be paid back) you would have to admit that it does make a difference in the quality and quantity of weapons and systems available to the IDF. No?

  • Left Brooklyn November 28, 2008, 3:12 PM

    BTW Batya, my son is strongly considering Mahal before he goes to college like his grandfather (my Dad) did.

  • baltasar November 26, 2009, 6:47 AM

    You gotta take the good with the bad…nothing’s perfect!

  • Noemi May 31, 2010, 12:50 PM

    I know this is super duper late, but thanksgiving in my family starts off with giving thanks, before anyone is allowed to eat a thing, we all gather up together and one by one say how thankful we are for the blessings bestowed upon us during the year and we humbly ask that hashem continue blessing us and our family. Then we all sit down an eat. Not once is the TV turned on, we all sit, talk, drink and convivimos( not sure what the word in English is for that) with the family and we usually don’t end up leaving until about 3 or 4 in the morning. I think you just need to find the right people or make your own tradition to celebrate.

  • Connie December 18, 2013, 7:33 AM

    When I initially commented I seem to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox
    and from now on every time a comment is added I receive fokur emails with the same comment.
    Perhaps there is a wayy you are able to remove me from that service?

    Thanks a lot!

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