Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Rare convergence of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah brings twist to holidays

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
Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

Rays DFA Rob Refsnyder to make room for Kevin Kiermaier

The Rays made official after Monday's game that CF Kevin Kiermaier would be activated on Tuesday.And to make room on the 40- and 25 man rosters, they designated for assignment OF Rob Refsnyder.Acquired from the Indians for cash considerations just be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

Rays journal: A 4-0 lead disappears in loss at Houston

HOUSTON — The Rays brought up several of their top prospects so they can get as much experience as possible.And Monday that included seeing how the relentless defending champion Astros worked their way back from an early four-run deficit to sco...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella pondered upside-down pitching in 2005

HOUSTON — Well before the idea of using a reliever to open games, as the Rays did against the Astros Monday for the 12th time, and then bringing in a starter was even a gleam in the eyes of the current Rays staff, former manager Lou Piniella wa...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

Nazi or not? Tattoo sparks Twitter storm over wounded New Port Richey veteran

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is pushing back against a social media post implying that a combat-wounded New Port Richey veteran has a Nazi symbol tattooed on his arm.In a tweet Monday afternoon, ICE officials denied the vete...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Pinellas protesters: Stop separating families at the border

Protests were held on both ends of Pinellas County on Monday in opposition to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents as they seek asylum at the U.S. border."Children are not pawns," "No kids in cages" and "I would...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Deadly Sunday for swimmers in bay area waters

Two people drowned and another suffered life-threatening injuries in the waters of Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.Investigators said all three cases appear to be accidents, but the incidents stand as a reminder that summer, with vacation ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

Pinellas deputies arrest Mississippi man 31 years after sexual battery

SEMINOLE — She was 22 when deputies said a man forced her at knifepoint into the woods off Seminole Boulevard and sexually battered her in February 1987.The case went cold, but now the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested the man it ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

Iceland World Cup Fever … catch it!

TAMPA — Iceland isn't what it used to be. Literally. The Nordic island country is shrinking, what with global warming. Iceland's glaciers are getting smaller. If you took all that ice and laid it end to end, well, you clearly have nothing bette...
Updated: 7 hours ago