Thanksgivukkah: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah Fall on Same Day

RENO, NV--For the first time in more than a century Thursday, two holidays born out of religious freedom will collide: Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

The first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims after they escaped the religious oppression of England. Hanukkah celebrates the Jewish victory over Syrian-Greeks which allowed them to practice their religion.

It hasn't happened before in our lifetime and won't happen again anytime soon. The calendars lined up this year to put Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on the same day.

"That's a beautiful similarity," said Rabbi Mendel Cunin of Chabad Aleph Academy. He says it's fitting they'll be celebrated together this year.

"It's not a contradiction; they are both holidays of giving thanks," said Cunin.

This week at the day school, students are learning the importance of the Jewish holiday. Later in the week at home, they'll get a lesson in combining the two traditions.

"So when you have your Hanukkah dinner, you light your menorah and serve latkes with turkey, cranberry sauce and have some doughnuts for desert," said Cunin.

The once-in-a-lifetime collision of traditions has been coined "Thanksgivukkah." It has a song, a special turkey menorah and even special foods. Instead of just latkes this year, Jewish families can expect cranberry latkes. And that special Jewish bread challah; a Los Angeles bakery has shaped it into a turkey.

Rabbi Mendel Cunin just warns, Jewish families need to be careful to stay kosher when planning their feast. The two holidays can present some culinary complications.

"Some people like making dairy latkes. Cheese latkes. And dairy and meat are not supposed to be eaten together," said Cunin

So that means Kosher eaters need to wait an hour after eating dairy before they dig in to the turkey.

Experts differ on when the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will fall on the same day again. Some suggest it will be another 70,000 years. Other suggest it will happen again in our lifetimes. It last happened in 1888.

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