Was Thanksgiving Originally a Jewish Holiday?

Wait, what? Isn’t Thanksgiving about Pilgrims and discovering America? In this episode of A Jew and A Gentile Discuss, Carly and Ezra chat about Thanksgiving’s historical and national origins and bring out surprising information tying the holiday to Jewish roots. You’ll also hear each of their favorite Thanksgiving traditions and some age-old Yiddish wisdom of Ezra’s grandma.

Plus, you’ll learn: 

  • Possible passengers on Christopher Columbus’ fleet of ships 
  • Pilgrim and Puritan ties to Judaism 
  • How the Feast of Sukkot parallels with Thanksgiving 
  • Why President Washington declared a national day of Thanksgiving and later, why President Lincoln reiterated it with new meaning 
  • How a funny play on words in the modern Hebrew language ties turkey to giving thanks 
  • How giving thanks is foundational in both Jewish and Christian thought 
  • An enlightening take on understanding the will of God for our lives 
  • Encouragement to return to being people of thanksgiving and fundamental reasons we have to be thankful regardless of what may be going on around us 
  • Making thanksgiving the posture of our hearts every day 

Words you might learn in this episode 

Cristobol Colon, Maimonides, Mishnah, Sukkot, chicken of India, Hodu la-donai ki-tov ki le’olam chasdo (Give thanks to the Lord for His mercy endures forever), kvetching 

Scriptures referenced in this episode 

Psalm 118:1, Psalm 100:4, 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 

Check out other exciting conversations between “a Jew and a Gentile” wherever you listen to podcasts or go to www.ajewandagentilediscuss.org for more information.  

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