Anthony Lee - Nov 8, 2022

Do Jewish People Celebrate Thanksgiving?

At the event of Thanksgiving, family and friends gather around the world for feast. It is the time of year when everyone pauses their responsibilities and come together to show gratitude. At the same time, many people do not celebrate holidays in person with extended families. But they always find a way to come together even if they are physically apart.

The holiday of Thanksgiving is also celebrated by Jews. It means that the value people honor on Thanksgiving, such as thankfulness, celebration, gratitude, love, and service, is closely connected to Jewish values.

What is Thanksgiving for Jews?

The thanksgiving festival is known as Sukkot in the Hebrew language. It also has a considerable connection to Rosh Hashanah, which is the Jews new year. The initial ten days of the Jewish New Year are spent for an internal and external thorough cleaning, where the religious people seek forgiveness from God for the sins they committed in the past year.

After the cleanliness of home and heart, the time to express gratitude for goodwill with the sukkot of Thanksgiving comes. The Jews families prepare a festive booth. It is a small hut made of tree branches adorned with flowers and fruits. Generally, the family keeps their meal inside it except when heavy and sudden rain destroys such celebrations. This suggests that looking at the sky through the branches gives the feeling that they are protected under the gaze of God.

6 Ways Jews Shaped Thanksgiving

The way people celebrate today has not always been like this. The event has gone through a series of events and changes and made it to us like this. Here are six modeling phases of Thanksgiving in Jews.

1.Modeled First Thanksgiving on Sukkot 

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, right after the pilgrimage settlement on Cape Cod's shore. In March, they officially left the Mayflower and started building their homes instead. They were aided by local members. At the time of harvesting, they declared a three days celebration to thank God for such a fruitful harvest. The Christians knew about the Hebrew Bible and Jewish holidays such as sukkot and autumn festivals when the Jews brought their offering to the temple of Jerusalem. This is how the Jews of America started celebrating Thanksgiving.

2.Ensured that Jews Can Celebrate Thanksgiving 

During the time of colonization, authorities were used to declare specific dates of Thanksgiving. It is a time of fortune and prosperity. Shearith Israel, who is known as a synagogue, also took part in the celebrations. He not only attended but also wrote new prayers for Thanksgiving. After that, the colonial Governor of New York stressed that days of Thanksgiving have particular importance in Christian characters. At this time, the synagogue decided to stay away from their celebration and refrain from even participating. After lots of efforts over decades, it was finally declared in America that no sanction and persecution assistance is required to live as a good citizen. Anyone can celebrate any occasion and festival regardless of culture.

3.The Shavuot Connection 

In 1863, Thanksgiving became the only annual holiday. It happened possibly due to the efforts of an idealist named Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor of the famous American journal Godey's Lady's Journal. Through her article, she appealed to make it a public national holiday across America. It is a day in which Americans, including Jews, can participate. She specifically mentioned the name of the Jewish event Shavuot. In fact, Hale took the Jewish Holiday as a time for family to get together, pay gratitude and do some charity. This way, no poor household will be left out.

After a while, President Lincoln listened to the entreaties and declared November’s last Thursday to be a holiday of Thanksgiving in America. These holidays also help in healing the wounds of civil wars.

4.The Jews' Date Modulation of Thanksgiving

For many years, this event was observed on the last Thursday of November. However. a Jewish business forced to change the dates. It also provoked a firestorm across America. In 1939, Thanksgiving was coming on the last days of the month. It was difficult for people and retailers to match expectations. Therefore, the president changed the date and brought Thanksgiving to the second last week. Many people showed disagreement with the date and appealed to bring the date back. It made waves in the country, and ultimately, the president had to change the dates back.

5.Invented Thanksgiving Day

 Parade With the passage of time, the day parade became a part of the thanksgiving ritual. Thanksgiving would be incomplete without the parade. This tradition was initiated by the business partner of a Jewish immigrant who is named Adam Gimbel. In 1920, the grandson of Gimbel hosted the first Parade of Thanksgiving. This parade sponsored a huge spectacle that marched toward Gimbel's apartment.

6.America’s Green Bean Casserole Connection 

This dish has a great story in shaping Thanksgiving in America. In 1955, a man wrote a penned downed about a journalist’s dinner she attended at John Snivel Jr home, who was the pioneer of citrus grower. The famous guest attending the event really appreciated this simple dish, and she asked about the ingredients. The host could not tell due to the level of guests. They couldn't understand the simplicity, but the guest kept insisting. Finally, the host had to say that it was simple beans with stuff.


Thanksgiving is a special day celebrated by Jews. They consider it a national holiday and a time of redemption. They not only thank the people around them but also thank God for blessing them with such a beautiful and complete life. It suggests that Thanksgiving has a divine connection with Jews culture. It is celebrated on the last Thursday of November by giving each other something special and respecting the value of the national event. 

Anthony Lee

freelance writer

Written by: Anthony Lee
Anthony Lee is a freelance writer who works as a sales clerk in an eyewear boutique, and her seven years of experience allows her to select the right eyewear for her customers at a glance. Knowing the whole process of eyewear production, she also has a unique perspective on eyewear fashion. She is passionate about fashion accessories and life. She likes to match a variety of eyewear with various styles of clothing.

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