There are many fascinating aspects to living in Jerusalem. My favorite is the heterogeneous and varied nature of the people I live among and learning about their cultures and family traditions. The olim community, which I am part of, is very much part of the Jerusalem demographic and makes the Jewish capital a colorful and rich city.

The concept of Thanksgiving is rated highly in Judaism. Showing thanks – hakarat hatov – is central to our relationships with God and those around us. In fact during Temple times, a special sacrifice was brought, the korban todah, for precisely that reason – to show thanks. The Talmud lists four types of people who are obligated to bring a korban torah – one who returns from travel at sea; one who returns from a journey in the wilderness; one who is released from prison; and one who recovers from an illness.

Leading American rabbis, including Moshe Feinstein and J.B. Soloveichik, ruled that American Jews are encouraged or at least permitted to celebrate Thanksgiving as an expression of the gratitude the Jewish people have toward America for welcoming them into their country and allowing them to live freely and be educated as Jews. Speaking to Rabbi Simcha Krauss – who for many years led the Modern Orthodox congregation at Young Israel of Hillcrest in Queens, New York, and today lives in the Old Katamon neighborhood – about Thanksgiving, he said that after the Holocaust, American Jews have an obligation to mark the festive day as an expression of thanks and recognition to the American government and people, for allowing in Jewish survivors and refugees from Europe and enabling them to rebuild their lives and families.

CLICK on here to read more.

Comments are closed.