Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rituals for Thanksgiving

It's hard to believe that the holiday of Thanksgiving is nearly upon us. Just one more week!

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful American holiday. It's simple - say thank you for the blessings in life and share a meal with those you love.

But often, the meal takes over, stress of family and needing a "picture perfect" celebration cause a little fraying at the edges. Creating an atmosphere of gratitude can be tricky when you're just trying to keep your 3-year-old from pulling the tablecloth off the table, don't you think?

I have created 3 different Thanksgiving services, based loosely on the idea of the Passover seder. After all, one good holiday centered around the table deserves another, doesn't it?

Feel free to read all three and pick and choose from within them! Your family might be somewhere between the longer edition and the quick version.

The first, a Thanksgiving Seder, is the longest of the three - suitable for strong attention spans.

Thanksgiving Seder 

The second, a Thanksgiving Seder for Families with Young Children, is a quick version, meant to be fun and light for the preschool and elementary school set.

Thanksgiving Seder for Families with Small Children 

And finally, an ecumenical version. What do I mean by that? It talks about God but it's not particularistic, i.e. not really very Jewish. (I know that some of you loyal readers aren't Jewish or share your table with people of many faiths and still might enjoy this concept!)

Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service for Families 

All three include ideas for usage and suggestions for incorporating your own cultural and ethnic heritage. I hope you like it and I hope you let me know if you use it.

May your celebration be full and enriching!
Happy Thanksgiving!


Anonymous said...

Cool! Is there a way to download these without signing up for that service? I'd rather not have yet another service advertise to me.

Rivster said...

And this is cross-posted on the Reform Judaism blog. How cool is that!!!

Wish I was going to be at a Thanksgiving open to bringing God to the table...


Anonymous said...

How very clever :)

Anonymous said...

Why does everything have to be turned into a Jewish holiday? Why isn't the holiday that it started out as good enough?

Laurie said...

I think this is a wonderful idea!

Phyllis Sommer said...

Dear Anonymous,
(why is it that negative comments are so often left by people named Anonymous?)

What exactly did this holiday start out as? Some would say that it started out as the Pilgrims' interpretation of the biblical festival of Sukkot (decidedly a Jewish holiday). Others would say that it's lost much of its original religiosity or spiritual intention and has become about gluttony and shopping.

Thanksgiving IS a Jewish holiday when *I* celebrate it because that is the beauty of being American - I can make of it whatever I want.

I recommend the Edible Torah's post on this topic, it's very well said.


And the real answer: if you don't want Thanksgiving to be a Jewish holiday, then feel free to celebrate it however YOU want. This is MY interpretation and the way MY family celebrates.

Remember, it's MY blog.