Why I’m celebrating American Thanksgiving

Because of the food.

That’s it, that’s the whole reason. The blog post is over.

Ok, just kidding. But let’s just say, that the amazing food just might be what got us started. My wife got excited by preparing the food and we hosted a thanksgiving in 2015 for the first time. Then for a bunch of years we didn’t, but for 2020 we decided to go for it again. We just might turn this into a family tradition.

Why again in 2020? Because davka in 2020 we need to remember the things we are thankful for. Because it’s the only non-Jewish holiday with a biblical foundation and zero pagan influence. And also because our government keeps imposing lockdowns when the Jewish holidays arrive to keep us from inviting people, so if we want to invite friends for a holiday, this is the time.

We are not Americans and neither of us have grown up with this holiday. We have never even been to the western hemisphere. All we know about thanksgiving is from American movies and sitcoms, and from American friends.

But besides the food, another reason we want to celebrate it is that I love the biblical principles of freedom and equality it represents. The American ideal of the government serving the people rather than the people serving a king. It turned the world upside down and set a precedent that created the world we live in today. That, if anything, is something to be thankful for, and the seed for that was sown by the pilgrims who went to the new world in search for a new future.

My great-great-grandmother who after being widowed lived with her daughter and grandson in Berlin in the 1920s was a big fan of this democratic ideal and the Weimar republic. My grandfather recalls how she spoke warmly about democracy as the Jewish ideal that the Torah put forward thousands of years ago, but that people only recently put into practice. (Luckily for her she passed away before 1933 when the German democracy shattered).

That ideal is really exactly what Jesus talked about when he said that the one who wants to be great among you must be the others’ servant. I know that our governments don’t really always practice that principle – but it’s still the basic ideal that they are supposed to strive for.

I celebrate Thanksgiving because I want to and because I am thankful.

I am thankful for God fulfilling his promises and giving us salvation and atonement through the blood of Jesus on the cross. I am thankful that he proves that he always fulfills all his promises, even the ones that seem impossible, by bringing his people back to our ancient homeland, Israel. I am thankful for my amazing wife who constantly tries to make me a better person (mostly unsuccessfully). I am thankful for my talented and bright kids, and very impressed by their ambitions and plans. I am thankful for having a steady job in accounting and being able to provide for my family despite the pandemic, and I am thankful for kehilanews giving me a platform to write on, helping me for the past year develop my writing skills. I am thankful for high-speed internet technology facilitating school and church from home, and I am thankful that God is sovereign and always in control. I am also very thankful for my patreons who support me at patreon.com/tuviapollack however few or many you might be. Knowing that there are people who believe in my writing and want to support me means the world to me.

מִזְמ֥וֹר לְתוֹדָ֑ה הָרִ֥יעוּ לַ֝יהוָ֗ה כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ עִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה בְּשִׂמְחָ֑ה בֹּ֥אוּ לְ֝פָנָ֗יו בִּרְנָנָֽה׃ דְּע֗וּ כִּֽי־יְהוָה֮ ה֤וּא אֱלֹ֫הִ֥ים הֽוּא־עָ֭שָׂנוּ (ולא) * וְל֣וֹ * אֲנַ֑חְנוּ עַ֝מּ֗וֹ וְצֹ֣אן מַרְעִיתֽוֹ׃ בֹּ֤אוּ שְׁעָרָ֨יו ׀ בְּתוֹדָ֗ה חֲצֵרֹתָ֥יו בִּתְהִלָּ֑ה הֽוֹדוּ־ל֝֗וֹ בָּרֲכ֥וּ שְׁמֽוֹ׃ כִּי־ט֣וֹב יְ֭הֹוָה לְעוֹלָ֣ם חַסְדּ֑וֹ וְעַד־דֹּ֥ר וָ֝דֹ֗ר אֱמוּנָתֽוֹ׃ (מזמור ק’)

A Psalm for giving thankful praise. Shout for joy to the Lord , all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his ; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

For those worrying about Americanization taking over the world – don’t worry. I’m not planning to buy a stack of guns any time soon, and I’m not cancelling my free government healthcare.

Happy delicious turkey day!

This article originally appeared on Tuvia’s blog, November 26, 2020, and reposted with permission.