In light of Thanksgivukkah

This Thanksgiving will be different. It will be different from all other nights. There will be three menorahs—the pink, purple, and blue wooden menorahs my siblings and I constructed in preschool—and my grandmother’s infamous golden latkes sitting on our Thanksgiving meal table. The menorahs will glow, illuminating the turkey and joyful faces … illuminating the connection and significance of this rather extraordinary Thursday.

Thanksgiving: a day of thanks. What are you grateful for? What are you thankful for? Hanukkah: eight days of miracles. Do you believe in miracles? Do you believe in the power of belief? For the first time these two holidays will overlap, converge, and connect on the same evening.

As an American Jew, I give thanks. I am thankful to witness first-hand the political activism and influence the pro-Israel community has on Capitol Hill. I am thankful for the opportunity to lobby two Illinois Congressmen next week on preventing Iran’s uranium enrichment and development. I am thankful to contribute to the pro-Israel community; I am thankful to make my impact.

As a Jewish American, I see miracles. I see miracles when I learn of the field hospital the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) constructed in the Philippines, where over 1,747 Filipinos have been treated and babies have been born. I see miracles when the first baby born at the hospital is proudly given the name “Israel.” I see miracles when I share this with my American friends — just to see the smile on their faces. They get it. They really do.

This morning when waiting in line at the campus coffee shop, I saw a student wearing a bright red t-shirt; it read “You’ve been given 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say thank you?” Maybe this was a mere coincidence; maybe I was meant to see this shirt.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will overlap for 86,400 seconds next Thursday. On that evening, I urge—I implore—all of you to take a moment to reflect. Zone out. You’ve got the seconds. Get inside your own head. And think.

What are you thankful for? What miracles have you seen? What miracles are you thankful for?

About the Author
Hannah Schlacter is a student at the University of Illinois College of Business Honors Program. Passion, ambition, and drive embody her character and impact. Considered a leader in advocacy, she is deeply committed to Zionism, environmentalism, and entrepreneurship. Hannah seeks a career path that will allow her to impact these diverse passions.
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