President’s Greeting: Nov/Dec 2013

This November 28, we mark a once-in-a-lifetime coincidence in Jewish and American life: Hanukkah begins on the same day as Thanksgiving. Actually, that’s once in many thousands of lifetimes. It won’t happen again for 80,000 years!

This year’s calendar can help us appreciate the meanings of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. Both holidays are occasions of gratitude, and both are celebrations of freedom.

In the original proclamation of George Washington, dating to 1789, Thanksgiving Day is set aside to appreciate “the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed.” In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving for “continuance of years with large increase of freedom.”

Hanukkah is the Jewish echo of American ideals: the courage to resist tyranny, the struggle for religious liberty, the dedication (which is the meaning of the word “Hanukkah”) to preserve noble values.

For Jews and for all Americans, there is much cause to give thanks at this season. As we prepare to gather with family and friends this November—whether in celebration of Thanksgiving, of Hanukkah, or of both—let us be grateful for the freedoms we cherish.

My wife and twin grandsons enjoyed the many fun activities at last year's Skirball Hanukkah Family Festival and will be back for more this year. We hope to see you there.

My wife, twin grandsons, and I enjoyed the wonderful activities and performances at the Skirball’s Hanukkah festival last year. And we look forward to attending this year’s Hanukkah Family Festival. Please say hello if you see me there!

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