Thanksgiving is Jewish
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
I was asked the other day for some easy ways to make Thanksgiving Jewish. In my mind, Thanksgiving is already very Jewish. Most of our prayers are full of gratitude and thanks. As many of you know, it is a tradition to thank God three times each day in our liturgy. We recite a shecheyanu when we want to express our gratitude for special moments in our lives or on the beginning of a holiday. Gratitude is so much a part of our language as Jews. In fact, every time we say a bracha we are offering our thanks to God.
So this Thanksgiving, do what we Jews do best and let us offer our thanks to God for all the blessings we have in our lives. If you need some easy ways to make your Thanksgiving Jewish, here they are:
Begin with a shecheyanu, thanking G-d for reaching this moment in the life of your family.
Add blessings to the meals. For example, recite motzi and kiddush, blessing the bread and the wine.
Last, have everyone go around the table and share a few things they are grateful for since last Thanksgiving.
Conclude with the blessing of gratitude, from our prayer book: God of Goodness, we give thanks for the gift of life, wonder beyond words; for the awareness of soul, our light within; for the world around us, so filled with beauty; for the richness of the earth, which day by day sustains us; for all these and more, we offer thanks. Blessed are You, Adonai, Your Name is Goodness, and You are worthy of thanksgiving.
From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!!
Rabbi Marci R. Bloch