This year, in a calendrical confluence not to be repeated for another 70,000 years, Thanksgiving and Hanukka coincide. The occasion has inspired jokes, videos, and a large share of holiday kitsch. But it has also inspired some thinking about the convergence of these two holidays — one ancient, one fairly modern. Both celebrate freedom of religion. Both are occasions for gathering with family and friends. Most importantly, both are expressions of gratitude, for the bounty we enjoy and the freedoms we have won. As one rabbi put it, “It’s a double-header of thanks, and the appreciation we must have should last beyond Hanukka.”
And it will be just beyond Hanukka that we will have another occasion to give thanks through action — Super Sunday, the annual fund-raising phonathon of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. On Dec. 8, friends and neighbors will gather to secure campaign pledges, donate to local food banks, and celebrate with their kids. It is the largest single fund-raiser for the federation, which, day in and day out, provides the basic infrastructure that supports the local and global Jewish community.
Whether caring for people in need or nurturing and sustaining Jewish identity for future generations, this is where our community comes together as one. The federation and its partner agencies develop innovative responses to critical, often life-threatening challenges. They provide help for thousands in need, here, in Israel, and around the world. And they create an energized Jewish community by helping it grow and celebrate.
Hanukka and Thanksgiving are associated with the values of compassion, charity, generosity, and responsibility. Both urge us to express our gratitude by improving the quality of life for people in our community and around the world.
Super Sunday will take place Dec. 8 at the federation’s two locations — the Wilf Jewish Community Campus in Scotch Plains and the Aidekman Jewish Community Campus in Whippany, with a busy schedule of family activities beginning at 9 a.m. To volunteer and for detailed information, visit jfedgmw.org/supersunday.
And when someone calls asking you to express your thanks and demonstrate your generosity, please say yes.