BY BRAM BESSOFF/AJT CONTRIBUTOR//  

Bram Bessoff

Bram Bessoff

Supposedly Thanksgivukkah will not happen again for another 70,000 plus years – or until the year 79811 to be exact.   [emember_protected custom_msg=”TO CONTINUE READING THIS STORY, PLEASE <a href=”http://atlantajewishtimes.com/join-us/”>CLICK HERE</a>” ]   By now you should have heard some talk about this national phenomenon, and even though it’s being publicized with lots of media attention and internet chatter as a rare coincidence of the lunar and solar calendars aligning, most still didn’t get it right. The first night of Chanukah was Wednesday, making the first day on Thanksgiving. Semantics! But Chanukah hasn’t had this much spotlight in a long time. Thanksgivukkah itself is arguably owned by two Bostonians, who went as far as to trademark the name and snatch up the Facebook and Twitter handles to promote and merchandise the holiday. Yet one particular person cannot lay claim to this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. They weren’t the only ones thinking about making a quick dime by enterprising on the moment, just do a quick Google image search to see what I’m talking about. My family has been celebrating Thanksgivukkah for years now – not by name, but simply due to logisitics – this and Passover are the only two times a year the entire family can get together. Therefore, we usually celebrate Chanukah over the holiday weekend, while  keeping the two generally separated. Every year the family converges upon our place for T-day, but as of the last two years, it has been getting bigger and more extravagant. It started in 2012, when we went off-location to spend the weekend in a few simple cabins on the lake. This year it was upgraded to a palatial six bedroom, six and a half bath estate complete with guest house, billiard room and boat dock to celebrate Thanksgivukkah and my father’s upcoming 70th birthday. As fun as it was, the blending of the two holidays made us aware of deeper parallels and will forever be celebrated in our family as such from here on out. Our Thanksgiving table was outfitted with a menorah and our table side conversion included discussing the parallels between the Maccabee’s fight for religious freedom and the pilgrim’s motivation to settle a new land. Both holidays in essence are a “festival” that celebrates the overcoming of tyranny to practice one’s faith. My eldest daughter even noted the similarities between Thanksgiving and Sukkot, which quickly led into a heated debate of a modernized form of Kashrut so more people could economically sustain a kosher lifestyle. And although we kept the rest of the weekend mainly about a family hang and football, plenty of people were doing big things to celebrate the hybrid holiday. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino officially proclaimed the holiday, Macy’s included a dreidel in honor of Thanksgivukkah in its institutionalized parade, and plenty of musical artists, secular and non-secular alike, played special shows and wrote songs to commemorate the event. Craig Taubman and the Pico Union Project held a Thanksgivukkah Festival in Los Angeles featuring Moshav & hip-hop rapper Kosher Dillz, both AJMF performing artists. The Dirty Sock Funtime Band, my new pick for an AJMF future concert just for kids, featured their Thanksgivukkah tune “The Menurkey” – a menorah in the shape of a turkey at their CD Release show in New York last week. A rabbi in Mineola, Long Island, even granted a pardon to kashuring a turkey in honor of Thanksgivukkah. Speaking of food, kosher power house Manischewitz, who dropped a “K” in their spelling, got in the game by creating thanksgivukah.com so that people could submit and vote for their favorite holiday “mash-up” recipes. Stuck for a last minute Chanukah present? Check these out for some fun Thanksgivukkah gifts:

  1. Get a Menurkey at www.menurkey.com – conceived by fourth grader Asher Weintraub who designed the prototype with autocad, a 3D printer and $48k raised through kickstarter which has now become a full blown business with an app in the iTunes store.
  2. Shop locally until Dec. 31 at the Thanksgivukkah pop-up store in Inman Park or anytime online thanks to www.ModernTribe.com Atlanta’s locally owned and operated Judaic online gift store. Check out the inexpensive $9 poster of the American Gothikkah and the very cool Woodstock inspired Thanksgivukkah t-shirt.
  3. Zazzle.com has a fun array of gifts starting at just a few bucks for adults and children, including greeting cards and even the wrapping paper, which are always hard to find – especially living in the South.

If there is one holiday by which secular Jews can rediscover their connection to Judaism, perhaps it is Thanksgiving. And unless you want to wait until Nov. 27, 2070 or Nov. 28, 2165, try showing your gratitude with a new tradition of giving and receiving by practicing Thanksgivukkah next year.   Bram Bessoff is a drummer and musician; you can see him sitting in with friends and artists all over the Atlanta area or catch him during one of his elusive Soup reunion shows. When not onstage, Bram sits on the board of directors as VP for The Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. [/emember_protected]