When 2 Become 1: Thanksgiving, Chanukah Come Together For Epic Holiday
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Jews around the world begin the 8-day celebration of Chanukah Wednesday night on the eve of Thanksgiving.
It’s a rare convergence of the two celebrations, both of which focus on religious freedom and food, earning the name Thanksgivukkah.
A candle is lit each night of the Jewish holiday, which is also known as the festival of lights, on a candelabra called a menorah.
In honor of Thanksgivukkah, Asher Weintraub, a 9-year-old boy from the Upper West Side, invented a turkey-shaped menorah dubbed the “Menurkey.”
He said he thought of the design and the name when he learned about the calendar anomaly.
“We were driving in a car from Florida and my mom told me that Chanukah and Thanksgiving were on the same day and that started it,” the 4th grader told WCBS 880′s Marla Diamond.
Weintraub enlisted the help of others to make his idea to combine a turkey into the design of a menorah a reality. A Kickstarter campaign helped fund the production of the Menurkeys, Weintraub’s father said.
More than 7,000 Menurkeys were made, many of which were sold at Manhattan’s Jewish Museum.
“We are sold out and they were really high demand,” director of merchandising Stacey Zaleski said.
“It really looks so neat,” Rabbi Steven Moss, leader of B’nai Israel Reform Temple in Oakdale, told 1010 WINS. “I bought one for our synagogue.”
Songs celebrating the extremely rare phenomenon of Thanksgivukkah have also popped up, including a cover of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” by the Jewish acapella group The Maccabeats.
There’s also a song that accompanies the Menurkey.
Food mash-ups, such as challah stuffing and pumpkin latkes, are sure to be at the dinner table Thursday.
Alicia Seitz, of Huntington Station, also came up with a special recipe for the occasion – matzo ball stuffing, also known as “Matztuffing.”
“I really got inspired to bring out the best of both holidays,” Seitz, who was a finalist in a local recipe contest, told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
The key to the stuffing is matzo balls made from scratch.
“It’s really your traditional ingredients but instead of bread you use matzo balls which have been really cooked in a nice, flavorful chicken broth,” Seitz said.
MATZTUFFING: Click here to download the recipe
This is the first time Chanukah and Thanksgiving have fallen on the same day since 1888.
It won’t happen again for 79,043 years, according to one calculation.
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