It is nearly Thanksgiving for all of our American friends! In Israel, the giving of thanks to the Lord is a very important holiday that stretches an entire week, known as Sukkot. But did you know that the American Thanksgiving is patterned after the Sukkot? So what can you do to celebrate Thanksgiving Israel style?
The Pilgrims saw themselves in a a version of replacement theology where they saw themselves as akin to the Hebrews being taken to the “Promised Land” but instead of the Promised Land being Israel, in this case it was the “New World” of America.
The Pilgrims had taken refuge in Holland before leaving for America and had likely seen Sukkot be celebrated by their Jewish neighbors who had fled persecution in Spain. It’s likely they adopted the celebration as their own act of thankfulness.
With that in mind, how can you incorporate some of Sukkot into your own Thanksgiving feast, especially on a year that has will have so many changes anyways?
Make Your Thanksgiving Israel Style with a Sukkah
One thing that many people may do this year that has not traditionally been done is eat outside in “tents”! Due to COVID-19, if weather at all allows, people are encouraged to eat their meals outside, which is very much like Sukkot! During the week of Sukkot, you are to eat all of your meals outside. So this year if you are feeling odd being outside eating Thanksgiving dinner, remember, you are really just more faithfully following it!
One way you could truly incorporate the eating outside like Sukkot is to build your own sukkah or tent that is beautifully and festively decorated. It may bring a bit of fun at the very least to a strange year!
Celebrate Thanksgiving Israel Style with Food
Another way you can incorporate Israeli traditions into you celebration is through food. We all know about the traditional Thanksgiving food of America which includes Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green bean casserole cranberry sauce, bread and of course, pie. There are ways though you could incorporate some Israeli food into your feast as well if you desire to change things up a bit.
Challah bread is always a popular Israeli choice of bread. You can also use pita bread this year. Check out Immanuel Tours’ own pita bread recipe and a how-to video here.
Israeli salads are always appreciated on tours, and many people learn that Israelis include salad in breakfast! Add in a salad of chopped zucchini, tomatoes, onion, parsley, olive oil and lemon juice to lighten up what is often a very heavy meal. It’s an Israeli classic.
Some tzimmes added to your menu will bring the heart of our Thanksgiving and Sukkot together in a dish that some Jews eat only for the High Holy Days. It includes yams, sweet potatoes, carrots, dried apples, dried cranberries (all sound familiar to Thanksgiving, right?) and honey, orange juice, and brown sugar. It’s a sweet take on root vegetables. It sounds just as at home on a Thanksgiving table as it does is in a sukkah! What a perfect dish to incorporate into your Thanksgiving feast with your less adventurous and more traditional guests being none the wiser.
You can find a recipe for tzimmes HERE.
If you are thinking this year you’d like to do something different than a pie, consider a traditional Jewish apple cake. It will satisfy your sweet tooth and desire for a warm fall apple dessert very well, and it can be much easier to make than a pie. No trying to get perfectly even apple slices and making a good crust, this is all more “Mix, dump, bake” in a bundt pan. On a year like this, who doesn’t want to keep the good flavors and ditch the work!? The Jewish Apple Cake fills the need quite nicely.
Celebrate Thanksgiving Israel Style with Say a Traditional Hebrew Blessing
Try this year incorporating a wonderful Hebrew blessings into your Thanksgiving celebration! With a year such as the one we’ve had, it can be quite difficult to remember to be thankful that we are here and God has provided for us once again and that no matter how difficult things may seem, He is in control and has provided his Son as our Savior. Amen!
Consider this prayer as part of your prayers of Thanksgiving:
Bah-rookh ah-tah ah-doh-noi eh-loh-hay-noo meh-lekh hah-oh-lahm sheh-heh-kheh-yah-noo veh-kee-mah-noo ve-hig-ee-yah-noo liz-mahn hah-zeh
Blessed are You, L‑rd our G‑d, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
What a wonderful sentiment this year!
We hope that all of our American friends and family have a blessed Thanksgiving and that all our friends and family around the world find their own time and way to express their thankfulness to the Lord, now more than ever!
We are booking tours for 2021 and 2022 so contact Immanuel Tours to start planning your no-risk tour today!