St. Louis Jews celebrate “Thanksgivukkah”

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - For the first time since the 1800’s, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are being celebrated on the same day.  American Jews have created some new traditions to celebrate this rare occasion, coined “Thanksgivukkah.”

Peggy Umansky has enjoyed preparing for both holidays simultaneously. “People have been very inventive,” she says, “I have half my house decorated for Hanukkah, half decorated for Thanksgiving.”

Umansky and her daughter made pumpkin-flavored challah, shaped and decorated like a turkey.  “I think it’s fun for the kids when the secular world meets the religious world, and they see that everything can coexist and be fun together,” she explains.

The chefs at Kohn’s Kosher Deli, also inspired by this rare occurrence, perfected some new Thanksgivukkah dishes, like sweet potato latkes.  Catering Director Robin Rickerman divulged some hints about their recipe: “A little nutmeg, a little cinnamon, and then we top it with sour cream and brown sugar.”

However, Thanksgivukkah isn’t just about inventive food combinations, or even turkey-shaped menorahs.  Rabbi Yosef Landa with Chabad of Greater St. Louis says the two holidays share some meaning.

He explains, “One of the messages of Hanukkah is really the same as Thanksgiving. The great miracles that happened, and the Maccabees in their battle to preserve their religious freedom, they established the holiday to give thanks for all the wonderful miracles that happened to them.”

Even though these holidays won’t coincide for another 70,000 years or more, their powerful messages will remain.  As for those tasty new traditions?  Kohn’s Kosher Deli plans to keep them going.  Rickerman says, “Every year Thanksgiving now, I think we’re going to serve sweet potato latkes, and different stuffings in our donuts.”