Michael Cohen

Commentator

Rabbi Michael Cohen is the rabbi emeritus of the Israel Congregation in Manchester Center and teaches at Bennington College.

So tomorrow we’ll celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah together for the first time since 1888 – an event that won’t come again for another 77,798 years! This is because the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar while the Jewish calendar is a lunar-solar calendar. But while they rarely overlap, they both share a very important message.

The pilgrims, guided by very strong religious fervor and faith saw themselves as establishing a New Israel. They read their Bible and many scholars point to the Jewish fall harvest holiday, the Sukkot, as the basis for Thanksgiving.