Rare Overlap of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah Gives Families Double the Reason to Celebrate

Posted at: 11/27/2013 10:49 PM
Updated at: 11/28/2013 3:22 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- Thanksgiving is just hours away but some will be celebrating two holidays. At dusk on Wednesday, was the official start of Hanukkah. The Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple. That means technically, the first day of Hanukkah will fall on Thanksgiving. Is that a good thing? Those we spoke with say, yes.

"This is really a celebration of religious freedom, and freedom of Tierney, freedom from oppression, and freedom to be able to worship," said Rabbi Dovid Greene with the Chabad Lubavitch of Rochester. Celebrations have begun for the start of Hanukkah. In Rochester, they lit the largest menorah in southern Minnesota.

The Drubach family says they will be celebrating each night until all candles are lit. "We'll go home and go to our own house and light our own menorahs for each night," said Dina Drubach.

Thursday, they'll be juggling two holidays, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving. Though, Rabbi Greene says they complement each other well. "They are very much alike. The founding of our country was based on the idea of religious freedom," said Rabbi Greene.

Will the celebrations be any different this year? "We'll have a Thanksgiving meal, all the trimmings and everything, it's just a kosher turkey," said Drubach. Things won't change too much, just a couple tweaks to the menu, like adding some latkes, a traditional fried Jewish potato pancake that's eaten during Hanukkah. "When they re-dedicated the temple they found oil that was only supposed to be for one day but miraculously it lasted 8 days," said Rabbi Greene.

For the start of Hanukah, food isn't the center of the celebration but more so, the feeling of togetherness as those of the Jewish faith gathered around to light the first candle of the menorah. "There is something that has to do with light and sharing that with others, and that's what I look forward to," said Rabbi Greene.

"To know everybody else is doing the same thing everywhere else, it’s a neat thing," said Drubach.

The last time these holidays overlapped was in 1888.