Thanksgiving came at a very fitting time this year. Generally, I am cynical about most American holidays. In past years I viewed Thanksgiving as an excuse to overeat and represent the official kick-off to the Christmas season, with Black Friday becoming a more anticipated day than Thanksgiving itself. But after a week of rockets bombarding the country, tens and thousands of soldiers being called to reserve duty and a bus being bombed right here in Tel Aviv, nothing seemed better than to come together with friends and express our gratitude. As the ceasefire was announced on the night before Thanksgiving, a collective sigh of relief was let out. Despite political differences, we were thankful to return to some sort of normalcy and a Thanksgiving dinner (celebrated here on Friday because we need all day to cook a turkey!) with delicious food and good company was the perfect way to ease back into that normalcy.
My friend Stephanie and several of her college friends who made Aliyah have a six year tradition of celebrating the holiday together. As the years have gone by, the number of attendees has grown and it was my first time joining the hosts and their forty guests at Stephanie’s apartment. The potluck style dinner gave me the chance to enjoy all of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes and then some. My personal favorite was the turkey, a collective effort of the organizers. Other tasty dishes included mashed potatoes, corn bread, sautéed green beans, quiches and a wild rice salad. My personal contribution was a cranberry-pomegranate sauce and upside pear and cranberry cake. The atmosphere was warm and friendly as we sat, ate and talked.
The unsettling events of the previous week made me appreciate this more than I could have imagined. I was thankful to be safe with good friends, living peacefully in my favorite city.
The same cannot be said of those in the south of Israel. If you’re interested in helping out, you can donate to our Sweet Support Initiative which provides delivers chocolates to the soldiers risking their lives on a daily basis to protect Israel and our democracy.