Leona Uchitelle

Leona Uchitelle

Quiz time! What is the holiday most celebrated by American Jews? It’s Thanksgiving. So yes, we do celebrate Thanksgiving.

We celebrate with all of the pomp and tradition that a family wants to put into the day: turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and football.

Many of us are only a few generations away from being an immigrant. In my case, one generation.

We Jews have much in common with our Founding Fathers. The Pilgrims were fleeing religious oppression in Europe. Their Pharaoh was James I. Their Mayflower was akin to our parting of the Red Sea. Their exodus was the same as ours. Their Promised Land was America.

America’s first settlers and Jews were both travelers to a new land.

America opened its doors to my family. That is something that I will never take lightly. How could I not be thankful?

Thanksgiving is not now considered a religious holiday. It is an authentic American holiday. It has become a holiday when we celebrate family and friends.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation making Thanksgiving a national holiday, celebrated on the last Thursday in November.

In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a declaration making the date for Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.

The only difference between my neighbors’ Thanksgiving dinner and mine will be the bottle of Manischewitz Concord grape wine on my groaning dining room table.

Leona Uchitelle is active in Jewish Congregation of Venice.

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