PHOENIX – How about Turkey with a side of latkes?
Jewish families all across the country will be celebrating the rarest of occasions on Thursday, as the first full day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day.
The last time the two holidays converged like this was in 1888.
“The next time it will happen is, in theory, never,” said Rabbi Levi Levertov with the Chabad of Arizona in Phoenix.
Levertov explains the clash of cultures is only so rare because of how the Jewish calendar works: It follows the lunar cycle, which has 354 days.
“It also has leap years to keep the Jewish holidays in their season, so Passover must be in the spring, for example,” said Levertov. “This year is a leap year where we add a month to make sure our holidays do not fall backward.”
To celebrate, Levertov said he knows of many Jewish families who will be combing the traditional foods of each holiday.
“The best way to celebrate Thanksgiving in the Hanukkah spirit is a deep-fried turkey,” he said. “The reason for that is Hanukkah foods are all about the oil, the miracle of the oil.”
To go even further, he said families can substitute mashed potatoes with latkes, which are deep fried potato pancakes. And instead of pumpkin pie, Levertov suggests sufganiyah, a round, fried, jelly doughnut traditionally eaten on Hanukkah.