Thanksgiving and the second night of Hanukkah will both fall on Nov. 28. This will not happen again for 77,798 years. GRAPHIC BY MAX STERNLICHT
Thanksgiving and the second night of Hanukkah will both fall on Nov. 28. This will not happen again for 77,798 years. Graphic by Max Sternlicht.

Turkey and Latkas? Thanksgiving and Hanukkah? According to The Wall Street Journal, these two holidays have not fallen on the same day since 1888, and the next time they will coincide will be in another 70,000 years. That makes their overlap this year a special opportunity for families to welcome the Festival of Lights, along with their turkey and thanks. Rabbi Mendy Uminer from the Chabad in south Brookline said that it is important to practice the ideals of Hanukkah in everyday life. “It’s the sense of freedom of religion, and each and every one of us is able to be who we are even if we are a minority and celebrate the way we like,” Uminer said. “The whole idea of Hanukkah is really the idea of adding light to this world and light meaning spirituality and warmth.” When social studies teacher Daniel Green was growing up, Hanukkah was a reminder of the importance of religion and family. “Most of my friends growing up were Christian, and I was one of the only Jews in my town. So Hanukkah was a very special opportunity for me to connect to Judaism, while still having a good time with my family and celebrating this old tradition,” Green said. Thanksgiving is a holiday that many associate with family and warmth and is not just about the tangible aspects of what the world has to offer, like turkey. It also has a deeper and more personal meaning for many. “I think with dinners and lunches and breakfasts on a day-to-day basis, we just rush through to sort of get to the next step or to get to work. But Thanksgiving’s such a great opportunity to slow down and really enjoy family and company, while also having great food,” Green said. While both holidays share some similarities, the challenge of how to celebrate them on the same day remains. How are the ancient Jewish cultures and the comparatively young holiday of Thanksgiving going to mix? To Uminer, this combination is not a burden at all. “Thanksgiving is a general holiday of thanks to Hashem and, in fact, Hanukkah, the whole idea of Hanukkah, is thanking God,” Uminer said. “So really they coincide in the most beautiful way.” Senior Maggie Mittleman said she understood the importance of family during the holidays. “I think it also might be nice because we do have Wednesday afternoon through the weekend off, so that people can go and have family with them on Hanukkah,” Mittleman said. It may be a challenge to figure out the best way to celebrate these holidays at the same time. But for Green, anything is possible if celebrators have an open mind. “I just think it’s going to be kind of fun to mix the cultures, and I’m trying to anticipate how we’re going to do that. Are we going to sing the Hanukkah songs and spin the dreidel while eating turkey, which would be kind of interesting?” Green said. “The two don’t necessarily go hand in hand in some ways. But in other ways, they are two family holidays that bring together families and food and traditions, so it is kind of neat to combine the two.” Mittleman is looking forward to this once in a lifetime holiday. “I’m super excited for Thanksgivukkah,” Mittleman said. “I think it’s going to be awesome.  It’s sort of all the good food in one holiday.” Sarah Gladstone can be contacted at [email protected]