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2017-11-03 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


November 3, 2017  RSS feed
Rabbinically Speaking

Text: T T T

Enjoy the holiday season

By RABBI GARY KLEIN Temple Ahavat Shalom, Palm Harbor

There is a significant relationship between the festivals of Thanksgiving which we will celebrate in November, and Hanukkah, which we will celebrate in December.

While Thanksgiving is primarily an agricultural festival, it also reminds us of the importance of freedom, especially the religious freedom that is part of American life. Americans join together for interfaith services as will many in Pinellas County to remember our pilgrim ancestors and their message of tolerance for everyone.

Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for Americans to express our joy in being part of a society that finds strength in the diversity of its inhabitants and in its commitment to protecting every worthy freedom for all its citizens. During Hanukkah, we celebrate the struggle of our Jewish ancestors to preserve their religious freedom. Hanukkah reminds us that preserving our Jewishness is important.

Hanukkah is linked to Thanksgiving by more than this common theme of commitment to freedom. The Greco-Syrian rulers who controlled Israel during the years prior to the Maccabean revolt forbade the observance of Sukkot, our festival of thanksgiving for the gifts of nature. According to our tradition, the first holiday our Jewish ancestors observed when they regained control of the Temple was a belated Sukkot. Both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are therefore expressions of appreciation of shared blessings.

In northern Pinellas County, along the Curlew Road corridor, members of Temple Ahavat Shalom, Emmanuel Community Church (American Baptist), St. Alfred’s Episcopal Church and All Saints Catholic Church will join with each other for an interfaith service at All Saints Catholic Church, 2801 Curlew Road., on Monday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m.

Other synagogues in Pinellas County will join with neighboring churches for interfaith services as well. In Clearwater, Congregation Beth Shalom will host an interfaith Thanksgiving service on Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m.

There will also be a St. Petersburg Thanksgiving interfaith service in whichTemple Beth-El is participating on Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 6 p.m. at Empath Health, 3050 First Ave. S.

I hope all of you attend an interfaith Thanksgiving service somewhere in our community and that you attend the Hanukkah celebrations that will be offered to you by your respective congregations.

My family and I wish you a joyous holiday season.

The Rabbinically Speaking column is provided as a public service by the Jewish Press in cooperation with the Pinellas County Board of Rabbis. Columns are assigned on a rotating basis by the board. The views expressed in the column are those of the rabbi and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Jewish Press or the Board of Rabbis.

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