The spirit of "Thanksgivukkah" has become so pervasive that even U.S. President Barack Obama decided to get in on the fun in a holiday message.
On the evening of the lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah Wednesday night, the U.S. leader sent “warm wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah” in a statement from the White House, and made note of the unique convergence of the American celebration with the Jewish festival.
“For the first time since the late 1800s – and for the last time until some 70,000 years from now – the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. It’s an event so rare some have even coined it 'Thanksgivukkah.' As we gather with loved ones around the turkey, the menorah, or both, we celebrate some fortunate timing and give thanks for miracles both great and small," he said.
"Like the Pilgrims, the Maccabees at the center of the Hanukkah story made tremendous sacrifices so they could practice their religion in peace. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, they reclaimed their historic homeland. But the true miracle of Hanukkah was what came after those victories almost 2,200 years ago – the Jewish Temple was cleansed and consecrated, and the oil that was sufficient for only one day lasted for eight. As the first Hanukkah candle is lit, we are reminded that our task is not only to secure the blessing of freedom, but to make the most of that blessing once it is secure.”
Obama added that he and his family “look forward to joining members of the Jewish community in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world as we work together to build a future that is bright and full of hope.”
He concluded by wishing happy holidays in Hebrew: “Chag Sameach.”
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