Thanksgiving

November 28, 2014

Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, November 28, 2014.

Thanksgiving

For those of us American Jews, there’s something special about Thanksgiving.  And... since Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday, how perfect that we’ve got leftovers to repurpose for Shabbat Dinner!  In fact, Turkey soup made from leftovers is perfect for Shabbat dinner on a cold November night. Try this recipe (to make it kosher, just leave out the parmesan cheese!).

Back in the 60’s when I was studying my college junior year in Israel, Thanksgiving was a challenge. Supermarkets there weren’t as sophisticated as they are now, and some of the staples of Thanksgiving dinner (cranberries, pumpkin pie filling, prepackaged stuffing) were just unavailable! Even roasting a turkey was a challenge. Turkey was and continues to be a major food in Israel. Some of the kibbutzim specialize in raising turkeys. However, when you see turkey in the markets the turkey sold is entirely turkey parts. No one buys a whole turkey for roasting. I actually had an oven when I was a student, and invited people over for Thanksgiving dinner. Cherries would have to do instead of cranberries. Stuffing with local ingredients was just fine. Using squash instead of pumpkin to make my own pumpkin pie filling, OK.  It was the turkey that was the problem. I ordered my whole turkey a month in advance, even though the butcher thought I was crazy. When I got it, it was still frozen. AND – it had been hanging when they froze it. It was all stretched  out – legs stretched out below so it stood at about four feet tall. And to make matters worse, even after it defrosted, it retained the shape – a poor naked tall skinny turkey. I tried to get it into a compact roast turkey shape so it could fit in my smallish Israeli oven, but it kept snapping back to its original shape! I eventually had to use rope! (Not trussing twine... real rope.) A major effort to be sure, but it was an effort worth it for us American students trying desperately to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Holy Land.

Shabbat Shalom