Yesterday in America, Americans celebrated the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. Before I take any religious questioning about anything, I always check to see what was already discussed on Gils blog. After briefly going through some of these posts I want to discuss the following based upon how I feel about the issue.
According to Wikipedia, "Thanksgiving is another name for the Harvest festival, held in churches across the country on a relevant Sunday to mark the end of the local harvest, though it is not thought of as a major event (compared to Christmas or Easter) as it is in North America, where this tradition taken by early settlers became much more important."
If this definition is correct then Thanksgiving should be considered a religious holiday. The day of Thanksgiving is on a different day in Canada and I don't believe other countries celebrate such a holiday. If other countries do not celebrate it then maybe it isn't a religious holiday and it is just an American holiday. I get together with my family on Thanksgiving and I think that Frum Jews in America should take advantage of this holiday and have a meal with their family.
Most Frum Jews get together with their families for Shabbos meals and Yom Tov Meals with restrictions of the melochos of Shabbos and Yom Tov. Thanksgiving offers a time when you can have a meal and enjoy it with your family without having to worry about any Shabbos or Yom Tov problems. The only issue that I see is leftovers. At everyone's meal there is usually leftovers and because Thanksgiving is on Thursday many do not cook for Shabbos and just eat leftovers for Thanksgiving. I think that this practice is wrong and Shabbos needs to come first not second as leftovers indicate. With this in mind, do the Conservative and Reform movement take Thanksgiving too far? I think they do and they should focus their time on Torah and Mitzvos instead of concentrating on Thanksgiving. Here are a few links of examples of what's done in the conservative and reform movements"
1 - From a shul in Long Island
2- From the Reform movement (PDF)
It seems the reform movement is big into helping the Hungry worldwide and the conservative movement is big into the interfaith dialogue. I understand that where the reform movement is coming from with the hunger but I don't understand why they don't list any of the Jewish organization's that help with this problem and only seem to be interested in the secular groups. As Jews, the Jewish people should come first. I am not saying we shouldn't help non Jews but if we are giving away all our money to non- Jewish groups who is going to help our own?
Last year there was an article in the Jewish World/sentinel about a prayer to add during benching that was composed by one of these movements to be said on Thanksgiving. My question to them is what about the Modim prayer in Shemonah Esrei and Mizmor Ltodah?? Teach your movement to say these prayers and what they mean instead of coming out with new ones which to me says you don't respect the ones we have already and have been saying for thousands of years.
I am curious to see what other people did for Thanksgiving and what they think of my observations.