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Thanksgivukkah celebrated by American Jews

By Jamie Stover, Reporter, JStover@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 27 2013 09:11:42 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 28 2013 10:22:47 AM CST

A national and religious holiday cross paths on Thursday with Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. -

A national and religious holiday cross paths Thursday with Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah.

Members of the Jewish-American community are calling it Thanksgivukkah, the first of which occurred in 1888. Experts said it will be another 79,000 years before it happens again.

Hanukkah, typically celebrated in December, coincides with the Jewish lunar calendar, while Thanksgiving follows the Gregorian calendar that follows the Earth's orbit around the moon.

Eric Rappaport and his son Joshua had big plans for the special day that undoubtedly will never happen again in their lifetimes.

"He's going to be able to tell his kids, my grandkids and his grandchildren about the Thanksgivukkah of 2013," said Eric Rappaport.

Rappaport said he plans on fusing the two holidays together with traditional dishes from both celebrations.

"We are going to combine both traditional Thanksgiving feast and we're going to add potato pancakes, or latkes, to our Thanksgiving table," Rappaport said.

Some Jewish-American families will combine the traditions by frying popular Thanksgiving foods.

Rabbi Seth Phillips, of the Congregation Keneseth Israel in Allentown, said frying the foods is symbolic.

"The cooking of foods into oil has spilled over onto our Thanksgiving table, too. Deep frying in oil because Hanukkah, known as the festival of lights, celebrates a miracle where one small jar of oil kept the eternal lamp, the symbol of God's presence, burning for eight days instead of the expected one day," Phillips said.
"The custom is, foods fried in olive oil, or peanut oil if it is going to be your turkey,"

Phillips said the holidays blend beautifully.

"How wonderful that a holiday that celebrates American survival and neighborliness, coincides with a Jewish holiday that celebrates survival and courage. Both strong reason to give thanks," Rappaport said.

The true spirit of giving, and giving thanks, is in the Rappaport family.

"A lot of families give gifts to celebrate Hanukkah. We don't give gifts. We give, he will get money that he will turn over to charity. We embrace that philosophy. So cool right? The double meaning of all of that," Rappaport said.