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Thanksgivukkah

Hanukkah got a lot of attention this year. It was the same day as Thanksgiving, and this rare union seemed to give both holidays a boost. Far from being buried by Christmas cheer, the festival of lights fused so completely with its autumnal counterpart that a challenging-to-spell new phrase and hashtag was born: #Thanksgivukkah.

Countless blogs, tweets, and a $50,000 Kickstarter Turkey Menorah campaign later, why did this holiday hybrid spark so much interest? It was a perfect moment to demonstrate American Jewish pride, an encapsulation of the kind of blending of traditions which is part of what makes the US culturally vibrant, and it was also just really fun. The reinvention of ritual is one of this museum's favorite topics, a way of honoring both the past and the unique qualities of the present.

We asked for examples of home-brewed celebrations from our online community, and you delivered in some creative ways. One lucky participant received the book Hanukcats, because if there's one thing this year taught us, it's that Hanukkah makes a great mixer.

A cornucopia filled with dreidels. More ornamental than edible, but so are all those tiny pumpkins you see throughout the season.



Eight days of gourds, and an original Menurkey from Joyce Linker. A little function, a little fashion.



A truly elegant table by Harriete Estel Berman, an artist we've been lucky to work with in past exhibitions. Obviously her talents extend beyond the studio. Read about her annual creative holiday tradition on her blog. Photo by Aryn Shelander.

Less opulent but still festive, Hanukkah wrapping paper and blue and white streamers behind the Thanksgiving buffet.



Jerry and Meredith Klein sent us the card they made custom to the occasion. A very limited edition.



Edith Seigel made a small adjustment to her door decoration, and it feels right.



David Whelan made sure that this little one would have a memory of his place in contemporary Jewish history.

Part of the resonance of Thanksgivukkah is due to the fact that this superholiday won't happen again for another 79,811 years. But it's a reminder that even boring old annual celebrations can be jump started with a little bit of new perspective.


About the Author
Kathryn Jaller is New Media Manager at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. Follow her: @kholler

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