At its 10-year mark, Thanksgivukkah, the rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, continues to be a milestone in Jewish-American holiday history. Dana Reichman Gitell, a marketing professional, turned this once-in-a-lifetime calendar coincidence into a communal event, inspiring a wave of Jewish-American merchandising, culinary, and spiritual innovation. The holiday also boosted the growth of small Jewish businesses and paved the way for modern Hanukkah products available in big-box stores. The success of Thanksgivukkah created a market that turns out every year, demonstrating the lasting impact of this unique holiday.
Thanksgivukkah inspired a new generation of Jewish pop-culture merchandising and the combination of tradition and modern trends. It allowed foodies to push boundaries and mix traditional Hanukkah and Thanksgiving flavors, leading to a surge of creativity in Jewish-American cuisine. The holiday also made Hanukkah “cool” again and gave it a modern American look. It gave Jewish Americans the opportunity to celebrate their faith in a nation that supports religious freedom.
Reflecting on the 10-year anniversary of Thanksgivukkah, the creators of the Menurkey and the holiday itself, Asher Weintraub and Dana Reichman Gitell, share their thoughts. Weintraub expresses gratitude for the experience and the connections it brought him, while Gitell sees the holiday as a celebration of Jewish comfort in America. However, in light of the rise of anti-Semitism in recent years, she questions whether Jewish Americans can still feel that level of comfort in the country.
Despite the challenges faced, Gitell encourages everyone to move forward with holiday joy and look ahead to better times. She believes that the spirit of Thanksgivukkah is still within reach and encourages us to continue celebrating life, liberty, and the hope for a better future.