Holidays Collide

By Jennifer Pallay
Published by The Times of Northwest Indiana – November 24, 2013

For the first time in 125 years, Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will overlap this year, creating an opportunity to combine traditions for American Jewish families.

Mordechai Levin, the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Munster, said, “American Jews love Thanksgiving because it is the holiday that people of different faiths, ethnic and cultural origins can share and appreciate, since we all have collective and personal reasons to give thanks.”

Hanukkah is another favorite holiday, he said because it “is the festival which celebrates the restoration of Jewish religious and political independence in the land of Israel about 2,200 years ago. During this holiday, we commemorate the triumph of our ancestors over the Greek forces that occupied Israel. They rebelled against the Greeks, liberated the land of Israel, recovered Jewish independence, and rededicated the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem that had been defiled.”

He said that with Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapping this year, it will make it easier for families and friends to meet.

“This year presents the opportunity to simultaneously celebrate two favorite holidays,” he said.

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Rabbi Levin is the rabbi of Congregation Beth Israel in Munster, IN. He received his rabbinic ordination from the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, and is a member of the Rabbinical Assembly. In 2010, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City for his years of dedicated service to the Conservative movement and the Jewish community...Full bio