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Local News

November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah share rare start

For the first time since 1888, and for the last time in more than 75,000 years, according to the National Geographic, the first day of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah overlaps with Thanksgiving. Members of the local Jewish community are making small alterations to their traditional American holiday celebrations to accommodate the occasion.

Hanukkah starts at sundown today and lasts for eight days. It is customary to light candles each night to celebrate the holiday that is also known as the Festival of Lights. It is also traditional to eat specially prepared potato pancakes, known as latkes, sometimes served with applesauce, and exchange presents. The holiday usually falls in December, but peculiarities in the Jewish calendar made for this rare occurrence.

Three Oneonta residents shared how they would celebrate what has been dubbed by some as “Thanksgivukkah.”

Faye Munson said that she will be serving latkes on the Thanksgiving table. The overlapping will also allow more of the family to be together for the two holidays.

“I think it’s kind of neat,” but the youngest grandchildren are not old enough to appreciate it. She will be taking pictures for them to look at when they get older.

“I like the holidays but this will be a little different. I know that I will never see it again,” she said.

Howard Gelbsman said his grandchildren will be getting their Hanukkah presents after the turkey dinner. “They love it being early because they get their presents earlier than usual and they will light candles together.” They will discuss the uniqueness of the holiday but otherwise it won’t be different than other Hanukkah celebrations, he said.

Hollie Jaffe said she was serving latkes as a side dish with the Thanksgiving dinner instead of mashed potatoes. She will also be serving cranberry-apple sauce, instead of the traditional latke accompaniment. Lighting of the Hanukkah candles will be “one thing more to be thankful for at this time of year,” she said.

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