Did you know that Chanukah and Thanksgiving will do something this year that they will never do again in our lifetimes? They will take place at the same time.
Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach had a great attendance during Yom Kippur. People came from far and near to pray and to fast, and, as the day went on, they felt the pangs of hunger, not just in their bellies, but in their very souls. People looked at their watches waiting for the time they would be able to eat again. And, at one point, I made a joke about food and, after the laughter died down, I pointed out that hunger is no joke … that, while we know when we will be able to fill our tummies, there are those who do not know where or when they will get their next meal.
The president of the Temple, Richard Rosenzweig, happens to be a City Commissioner. He has a great awareness of the huge number of hungry in our community. While we were discussing what we should serve this year when Chanukah and Thanksgiving merge together creating Thanksgivikah, I felt great nachus (pride) when Commissioner Rozenzweig and others voiced that we should use Thanksgivikah not to feed ourselves, but rather to feed those who are hungry.
Many of us recite a Bracha, (a Blessing) before we eat and some may say the Grace after meals, but how many of us really realize how very blessed we are just to have something to eat.
Temple Beth Israel has a number of Holocaust Survivors; they know what a miracle a small piece of bread can be. It can literally mean the difference between life and death. And so it is that the Temple came up with the idea of collecting non-perishable food items for those living right here in Broward County, in Deerfield Beach, who do not know where or when their next meal will come.
You all have a choice to make as Thanksgiving comes along; you can choose to simply use the holiday as a day to fill your own tummy, or you can choose to use it as an impetus to help make sure that others have food to eat, not just on Thanksgiving, but all year round.
Many who hear about Chanukah know that one of the stories told is about the miracle of the oil. How just a little oil that should have only lit up the Temple for one day kept it bright and shiny for several days. This is why it is traditional to eat something fried in oil on the festival … like Latkes or jelly doughnuts. In the Testament of Judah Asheri, we read, “Food is like oil to a lamp…;” this year, let us be the oil; we can each help bring about a miracle to others that we all too often take for granted … the miracle of food on one’s table. Let’s help make Chanukah a time of true Thanksgiving.
(Non-Perishable food items can be dropped off at Temple Beth Israel at 201 S. Military Trail in Deerfield Beach and feel free to include a written prayer in the bag giving thanks to G-d for the many blessings in your life. If there are any Temples, Churches, Mosques or organizations that would like to take part in this event, please contact the Temple Office to speak with Richard Rosenzweig. Seating is limited for this event, so please call The Temple at 954- 421-7060).
Shalom My Friends and a very happy Thanksgivikah,
Rabbi Craig H. Ezring
Rabbi Craig H. Ezring is the Spiritual Leader of Temple Beth Israel of Deerfield Beach. We welcome you to join our warm and caring family for Shabbat and holiday services. We’ll make your heart glow; who knows, you might just fall in love with Shul all over again.