The Jewish Roots of Thanksgiving


When we form a mental image of the Pilgrims at this time of the year, it’s usually sitting at a table laden with food (even though they starved their first year on New England’s rocky coast) or walking to church in the snow, a Bible in one hand and a blunderbuss in the other. A picture of the Pilgrim fathers lighting menorahs and spinning dreidels does not come readily to mind. And yet, Thanksgiving has Jewish origins. Its roots are Biblical. Philosophically, it expresses the essence of Judaism. The first Thanksgiving took place not at Plymouth in the 17th century but in the land of Israel more than 3,000 years ago.

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