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Is Anything More Jewish than Thanksgiving?

by Kathryn Frazier  
6/24/2010 / Holidays

Did you know Thanksgiving is Jewish? Well, almost.

That first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Colony, 1621, Christian Pilgrims fashioned a celebration after the Biblical Feast of Tabernacles. The Pilgrims learned about the feast in Holland, where they lived among Jews who were expelled from Spain.

The Feast of Tabernacles, known today as Sukkot [soo-KOHT], is celebrated by setting up temporary shelters, decorating with a harvest theme, inviting guests for a meal, visiting others for a meal, and enjoying the abundance of fall foods. Sound familiar?

And Mom's cranberry stuffing? Stuffing one food into another is a Jewish symbol of abundance.

"You can't serve too much food," says Linda Burghardt, author of Jewish Holiday Traditions. "Could there be anything more Jewish than that?"

But you don't have to be Jewish to celebrate Thanksgiving. Across America, people of all faiths come together on the same day to reflect on freedom, abundance, heritage and family. It's the country's largest communal meal. We all have much for which we can give thanks.

Copyright 2011, Kathryn A. Frazier.
Kathryn lives with her husband and children in Tampa, Florida. It's hot there. And swampy. With gators. She's really brave.

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