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Mark Your Calendars for Thanksgivukkah (Detroit News – October 8, 2013)

Posted on: October 8th, 2013 by Kosher Michigan

Mark your calendars for Thanksgivukkah

Not since 1888 have Thanksgiving, start of Hanukkah fallen on the same day

LEANNE ITALIE | ASSOCIATED PRESS
Woodstock-inspired T-shirts celebrating Thanksgiving and Hannukkah have a turkey perched on the neck of a guitar and implore ‘8 Days of Light, Liberty & Latkes.’ The creators nabbed the trademark to ‘Thanksgivukkah.’ (AP)

New York— It’s a turkey. It’s a menorah. It’s Thanksgivukkah!

An extremely rare convergence this year of Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah has created a frenzy of Talmudic proportions.

The last time it happened was 1888, or at least the last time since Thanksgiving was declared a federal holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, and the next time may have Jews lighting their candles from spaceships 79,043 years from now, by one calculation.

A 9-year-old New York boy has invented the “Menurkey” and raised more than $48,000 on Kickstarter for his already trademarked, Turkey-shaped menorah. Woodstock-inspired T-shirts have a turkey perched on the neck of a guitar and implore “8 Days of Light, Liberty & Latkes.” The creators nabbed the trademark to “Thanksgivukkah.”

Songs have popped up with lyrics like these from “The Ballad of Thanksgivukkah”: “Imagine Judah Maccabee, sitting down to roast turkey and passing the potatoes to Squanto …” Rabbi David Paskin, the song’s co-writer and co-head of the Kehillah Schechter Academy in Norwood, Mass., proudly declares his the Jewish day school nearest Plymouth Rock.

Some observers in Metro Detroit say the convergence means Hanukkah, which often has fallen close to Christmas, could this year absorb the flavor of Thanksgiving.

“Because of Hanukkah’s usual proximity to Christmas, it’s taken on this gift-giving culture. So it’s possible that this year, because of it coinciding with Thanksgiving, there might be more of a focus on being thankful … for what you have,” said Rabbi Jason Miller, director of Kosher Michigan and based in West Bloomfield Township.

Let’s not forget the food mash-ups commemorating the staying power of the Pilgrims and the fighting prowess of the Jews, along with the miracle of one night’s oil lasting eight days. Pumpkin latkes, apple-cranberry sauce and deep-fried turkey, anyone?

“It’s pretty amazing to me that in this country we can have rich secular and rich religious celebrations and that those of us who live in both worlds can find moments when they meet and can really celebrate that convergence. There are a lot of places in the world where we would not be able to do that,” Paskin said.

The lunisolar nature of the Jewish calendar makes Hanukkah and other religious observances appear to drift slightly from year to year when compared to the U.S., or Gregorian, calendar. But much of the intrigue over Hanukkah this year is buried deep in the history of Thanksgiving itself, which hasn’t always been fixed in the same spot. That caused some initial confusion over Thanksgivukkah.

In 1863, Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November (the month sometimes has five of those) and the holiday remained there until President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress fixing it as the fourth Thursday, starting in 1942.

Since 1863, Thanksgiving and the first full day of Hanukkah on the Gregorian calendar have not overlapped. Jewish practice calls for the first candle of eight-day Hanukkah to be lit the night before Thanksgiving Day this year, so technically Thanksgivukkah falls on the “second candle” night.

Jonathan Mizrahi, a quantum physicist at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., puzzled on the convergence last January, in a blog post with buzzed-about line graphs picked up by others online.

More than 100,000 people have visited the blog since then, he said, including some who questioned his calculations and prompted him to post a couple of clarifications.

He hadn’t made it clear that he was referring to the “second candle” night of Hanukkah, and he hadn’t realized Thanksgiving had shifted from the last to the fourth Thursday of November.

While the whole thing is lots of fun, is there anything truly cosmic happening here?

Well, there’s Comet ISON, which is set to pass close by the sun on Thanksgiving and may provide a nice show — possibly even during daylight. Or not, since comets can’t always be counted on.

Detroit News staff writer Mark Hicks contributed

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131008/NATION/310080034#ixzz2mulywrrm

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Posted on: September 6th, 2011 by Kosher Michigan

 

Rabbi_Asher_LopatinMagnolia Bakery at 108 N. State Street, right across from Macy’s, has just opened its doors and is certified by Kosher Michigan, a supervision agency headed by Rabbi Jason Miller. Even though the Kosher Michigan label is based in Detroit, I am thrilled that Magnolia is under the direct hashgacha (supervision) of Will Kaplowitz, a member of Anshe Sholom and someone whom I trust fully. I have concluded that Magnolia Bakery in Chicago fully meets the Kashrut standards of the Anshe Sholom community. All the products should be considered dairy, and may be enjoyed at the bakery or at home.

Magnolia is a chain that standardizes all of its products and ingredients, and the five Los Angeles stores are under the top-notch supervision of the Rabbinical Council of California. Those same ingredients are used at the Chicago bakery. Will has checked out everything in the Magnolia bakery in Chicago, and he confirms that every ingredient is under strict rabbinical supervision, including the hot drinks (with the exception of unflavored coffee and plain cocoa powder, neither of which need supervision). All dishes and utensils in the bakery were bought new and were never used before it opened as a kosher institution. In Los Angeles, as in Chicago, Magnolia is open on Saturdays. However, there is no issue eating Magnolia’s products (at any time when the eating of chametz is permissible) because Jews are not doing the baking, and they are not baking on Shabbat for Jews in particular.

I have met with Rabbi Miller, and reviewed with him the strict contract he has with the bakery. The contract forbids the bakery from mixing any outside ingredients with the products they sell, and requires employees to keep personal food away from the kitchen or baking area. Even though Kosher Michigan has been supervising kosher institutions in the Detoit area for four years already, in Chicago it is a new supervision.  I am impressed by both Rabbi Miller’s sincerity and earnestness, and his willingness to consult Orthodox authorities on halachic issues (he himself has ordination from JTS). It means a lot that his mashgiach on site is one of our most respected members, who is knowledgeable, observant, and in close contact with me. I will continue to be in touch with Rabbi Miller and Will to constantly confirm the reliability of this new supervision.

To reiterate, at this time, Magnolia Bakery in Chicago fully meets the standards of Kashrut of our community here in Lakeview. Please note that Ashkenazic Jews are strict about only eating Pat Yisrael – Jewish baked breads – between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur. Since the baked foods in the bakery are baked by non-Jews, one should wait until after Yom Kippur to eat their products. After Yom Kippur, I would personally eat their products, both in the store and take out.

Gmar chatima tova,

Rabbi Asher Lopatin

Rabbi Joel Roth

Posted on: December 1st, 2009 by Kosher Michigan

December 2009

To whom it may concern:

Rabbi_Joel_Roth - Kosher ExpertI write this letter to endorse the kashrut certification of Rabbi Jason Miller (Kosher Michigan).

Rabbi Miller was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, where I serve as a senior member of the faculty and oversee the kosher standards of the institution. He worked in the Seminary’s kitchen and cafeteria as a mashgiach (kosher supervisor), ensuring the highest level of kashruth.

Three years after his ordination from JTS, when Rabbi Miller was hired by Tamarack Camps to serve as the camping agency’s rabbi and kosher supervisor, he returned to study privately with me. His advanced studies in the laws of kashrut and hashgacha (kosher supervision) allow me to endorse his certification of restaurants, caterers, bakeries, and individual food products.

As a widely acknowledged expert in the field of kashrut, I have also made myself available to Rabbi Miller for consultation.

As Rabbi Miller’s teacher and as a native of the Metro Detroit Jewish community, I take great pride in the work he is doing to establish more kosher options in Michigan.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Joel Roth
Professor of Talmud
Jewish Theological Seminary

 

CONTACT DETAIL

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Suite B
West Bloomfield, MI 48322

Phone: 248.535.7090

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