Every year at this time, I take a few minutes to reflect on the year and give thanks for all the good there is in the world.
And it is for that reason that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as it has been for some time. Of course, when I was a kid Chanukah was my favorite holiday between lighting the menorah,the gifts and the memories that would be evoked year after year.
So it is remarkably fitting as I begin to mark the one year anniversary of my dad’s passing that both Thanksgiving and Chanukah will fall on the same day for my dad passed away during Chanukah. I don’t recall these two holidays EVER falling on the same day and in fact they won’t again for more than 79,000 years!
What is most interesting about both holidays is that they involve family based rituals: Chanukah involves families getting together, lighting the menorah each night, giving gifts , and eating certain foods like potato latkes (potato pancakes) . Thanksgiving of course includes at least two of those rituals namely eating certain foods and the gathering of family. So this Thanksgiving will be the only time in our lifetimes that we celebrate both holidays at the same time. It will be a culinary experience to eat turkey and latkes at the same meal.
Most importantly though these two holidays are very similar in that they reflect on religious freedom and the right to self-determination, and self-expression as a people. So on that note I am thankful for those freedoms and hope each of you will find something to be thankful for at this favorite time of year.
On behalf of my family, and all those who are part of my team, we wish you and your loved one only the very best on this Thanksgivukkah.
Roy D. Oppenheim,
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For me it has always been one of the most important holidays of the year, because Thanksgiving is one of those few holidays that everyone in America truly shares.
Wherever you are from, whatever your heritage is, we are one.
In that regard I hope to take a brief respite from our usual debates.
I can come off highly critical and perhaps even a bit cynical here in these pages, but in reality I remain hopeful for the future.
We just came off a rather divisive election, but in a way, elections bring our country together, at least for a day. We all have a common interest and a common goal, and that is to vote.
It was partisan along many lines, but the reality is that all of us just want a stronger and better country, myself included.
We may disagree on how to get there, but the worst thing we can do is to stop working towards that common goal.
In a much different way Thanksgiving also brings our country together. Yes, it’s kind of like an election that we share things in common, but we don’t have the partisanship, we don’t have the divisiveness; we have this idea that we all should be giving thanks for whatever is important in our lives.
And maybe we need a little bit more of that ideal in our everyday lives.
In my life my family, my business, my clients, my friends, my good health, the fact that I live in Florida; these are just some of the things I can be thankful for and that my family can be thankful for.
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I always ask myself why and come to the same conclusions: Traditions!
Whether you are born in the U.S., a recent immigrant or like me, a first generation from immigrant parents … on Thanksgiving we are not just all Americans … but we are all Hundred Percenters. That’s right. Not 99 percenters or one percenters, but 100 percenters. We are all the same. We are the same united by each of our own respective traditions that include common denominators such as family, friends, food, sharing, relaxing, football, volunteering, maybe a little shopping and most importantly giving thanks.
For the Oppenheims, like many other families with kids in college, it means making sure they have plane tickets to fly home and carve out time to share cherished family hang outs.
It also means to make sure the kids are home to participate in the Oppenheim annual Thanksgiving Day turkey standoff. That’s right a standoff. You see, for the past 19 years I have made a roasted turkey in an old used enamel cracked crock pot inherited from a neighbor planning on discarding that pot. That started a whole ritual on how we prepare the turkey and vegetables that go into the hand me down pot. The whole process starts around 9:00 a.m. Thursday morning and by 10:30 the bird goes into the oven for several hours.
Where is the standoff you may ask? Well you see, like all traditions that is the beauty of Thanksgiving, traditions evolve.
Three years ago David, my childhood friend from New York, and his family began joining us for Thanksgiving in Florida. And true to form, David also has developed his own tradition: to fry a turkey every Thanksgiving. Thus the annual turkey standoff began.