Families celebrating Hanukkah in Central Pennsylvania are anticipating a once in a lifetime opportunity. Even more than that, for the first time since 1988, Jews will light the menorah while eating turkey and stuffing for Thanksgiving. “Thanksgivukkah” is the combination of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.
Friends Rachel Silberstein and Abby Astrachan anticipate night one of Hanukkah. But it’s day two they smile over because it takes a spin over Thanksgiving.
Rachel says, “It’s really cool, a once in a lifetime opportunity and we never get to celebrate Hanukkah with our family because they live far away, so it will be cool to celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah together as a family.”
For Rachel’s mom, Kristi, “Thanksgivukkah” means more work. Kristi says, “We wouldn’t normally be getting out my Hanukkah stuff for another several weeks and in addition to the Thanksgiving, we’re going to be travelling to Connecticut to have dinner with family and I was tasked to bring the Hanukkah components to the meal.”
So why the rare occurrence? Ken Silberstein is the President of Temple Beth Israel, in York County. He says, “The western world is based upon the solar calendar and the Jewish calendar is on the lunar calendar which means every so many years we add a 13th month to the solar calendar to keep them in sync.”
Silberstein says it could be another 50 to 70,000 years until the next “Thanksgivukkah.”
That’s why Rachel and Abby welcome another reason to be thankful this year.