Saturday, November 18, 2017
News Roundup

Rare convergence of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah brings twist to holidays

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — Rabbi Richard Birnholz chuckles when he says the word Thanksgivukah.

Trademarked by a Boston-area woman, Thanksgivukah was coined to mark this year's rare confluence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. It's spawned a Facebook page — with more than 12,000 likes and counting — T-shirts, aprons, notepads, recipes and more.

The convergence of the two holidays is a major happening. It last occurred in 1888, and after Thursday, won't happen again for 70,000-plus years.

This year, the lighting of the first Hanukkah candle will take place after sundown Wednesday. Thanksgiving will mark the first day of the eight-day festival and the second candle lighting.

Birnholz of Congregation Schaarai Zedek in Tampa said his family will wait until after Thanksgiving dinner to light the second candle, making sure to distance the traditions.

"I've heard people say they are going to try and keep them separate, and then there are people who have made Menorahs shaped like turkeys, with the tail feathers sticking up as the candles," Birnholz said. "Everyone has a different take on it."

Jody and Debbie Berner and their son, Benjamin, 13, are ramping up the celebrations. The Belleair family had hoped to celebrate Benjamin's bar mitzvah on Thanksgiving. "But we couldn't find vendors," Debbie Berner said.

So the bar mitzvah will be Saturday. But when more than a dozen relatives gather on Thanksgiving morning for the annual Turkey Trot, Berner hopes they'll all don Happy Thanksgivukah shirts.

"We're milking it," she said.

In Seminole, Judi Gordon is baking, frying and freezing for Thanksgivukah.

She's baked a challah — the traditional Jewish bread — in the shape of a turkey. For her grandchildren and great-nieces and -nephews, she's planned a special joint-holiday project that will become the centerpiece of the Thanksgivukah buffet table.

"I'm going to be getting eight small pumpkins and one medium-sized pumpkin and they are each going to get to decorate them with blue and silver and then we are going to cut a hole in each one and that will be our menorah," Gordon said.

To accompany the latkes she's made from about 12 pounds of potatoes, she'll make her mother's apple sauce recipe. But in a nod to the dual holidays, she will offer cranapple sauce as well.

All the fuss won't be confined to Thursday, though. Gordon will host a Hanukkah dinner on Wednesday, the first night of the Festival of Lights. Her guests will be greeted with a banner proclaiming, "Happy, Happy Thanksgivukah."

"We have to combine the two. You can't let something that occurs so rarely pass by without special notice," she said.

Debra Joseph and her husband, David, members of Congregation Beth Am in north Tampa, will light their Menorah together each night, including Thursday. They prefer it when Hanukkah falls in December.

"It's very inconvenient," Debra Joseph said. "I like it better when its not so early because I really like Thanksgiving and would like to celebrate it as a separate holiday."

Anna Salomon, director of lifelong learning and engagement at Temple Beth-El in St. Petersburg, said the coinciding holidays offer positives, but also challenges.

"For the kids, I think the biggest challenge is the month of December. With Hanukkah ending on Dec. 5, that's an awful long month not to have anything, with all of the commercial aspects of Christmas surrounding you," she said. "Normally Hanukkah overlaps and the earliest is in the middle of the month. Now it's early and it's over."

Rabbi Danielle Upbin of Congregation Beth Shalom in Clearwater and a rabbinic fellow with the Jewish Theological Seminary said she sees only opportunities in the shared timing.

"At the time of Hanukkah, we are thankful for the miracles and blessings in our lives," she said. "In that light, I think the motif of gratitude and rededication are interlinked."

At Hanukkah, Jews remember Judah Maccabee, his small band of fighters and their victory over the religious and cultural persecution by Syrian-Greek oppressors, who seized the temple in Jerusalem. It was recaptured in 165 B.C., but when it was time to rededicate the temple, only one cruse of undefiled oil was found to rekindle the eternal light. The oil that was enough for one day miraculously lasted for eight.

The idea of meshing the holidays is appreciated by Rabbi Mendel Rubashkin, founder of the Jewish Discovery Center in Brandon.

"I've always liked how both of them have a similar message, that no one can dictate how we should believe," Rubashkin said.

"This year not only can we celebrate our right to practice our religion back in Israel, but also our freedom of religion in the United States."

 
Comments

Possible wrong-way crash on Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday

TAMPA — A multi-vehicle crash on the Courtney Campbell Causeway late Friday may have been caused by a driver traveling in the wrong direction, Tampa police said.The crash occurred in the eastbound lanes closer to the Tampa side of the causeway, near ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

Tampa police investigate drive-by shooting in Seminole Heights

TAMPA — Police took one person into custody late Friday after a drive-by shooting ended in Seminole Heights.The incident, which unfolded about 11 p.m., did not appear to be related to the spate of other recent shootings in Seminole Heights that have ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 8 hours ago