A Jewish Thanksgiving? 

By Yaniv Romanowski

A Familiar Jewish scene during the festival of Sukkot would be family and friends joyfully sitting around the delightfully decorated table in the Sukkah, giving thanks to G-d for blessings which include the bountiful foods from the harvest season which usually falls in October/November, and thanking G-d for all of His provisions. A similar American scene during the Thanksgiving holiday would be family and friends joyfully sitting around the wonderfully decorated table, giving thanks to G-d for all of His blessings which include the bountiful foods from the harvest season when people used to harvest their crops. Do these holidays sound similar to each other? “It is widely believed that the Puritan settlers, who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures, based the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkot,” explains Rabbi Kasdan in his popular book, God’s Appointed Times. As we research the history and customs of Thanksgiving and Sukkot, familiar themes surface from both harvest festivals. Of course, historically confirmed, the Biblical holiday of Sukkot came first, and the American holiday of Thanksgiving came second, as we all know.

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