Gobble tov! Rare coincidence of calendar brings about Thanksgivukkah

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by JIM DOUGLAS

Bio | Email | Follow: @wfaajdouglas

WFAA

Posted on November 28, 2013 at 8:48 PM

FORT WORTH -- The kitchen smelled of onions, potatoes, and cranberries, but not exactly like Thanksgiving.

Something just a little different -- latkes.

"Never had latkes at Thanksgiving," said Sheri Allen, uncovering a plate of fried potato pancakes. The addictive treats always appear at Hanukkah in the Allen home in Fort Worth.

For Thanksgiving, they usually cook mashed potatoes.

"This is a new one for us," Sheri said, stirring the applesauce for the latkes.

This year, the Allens celebrate Thanksgivukkah -- Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

It makes the cooking a bit complicated.

“Of course, the turkey is kosher,” Sheri Allen said. “We keep kosher in our house, so we had to get a kosher turkey."

So no traditional sour cream with the latkes.

“Because we keep kosher we don’t mix dairy and meat together,” Sheri said. “We had to find a pumpkin pie recipe where there’s no dairy products in it at all."

Daughter Rebekah managed to dig one up. She wasn’t quite sure about it.

"I think it was on Buzzfeed,” Rebekah said. “'25 vegan pumpkin pie recipes.'"

Sheri Allen is cantor at Congregation Beth Shalom in Arlington. She and her family count it a true blessing that the first full day of the Jewish Festival of Lights fell on Thanksgiving for the first time since the late 1800s, and the last time for the next 75,000 years or so.

"One of the cantors on the website I'm on wished me 'gobble tov,'” she laughed. “Gobble tov! Usually it's mazel tov."

But Thanksgivukkah is not just a gimmick.

Sure, there are catchy Thanksgivukkah songs on YouTube and turkey menorahs with candles in the fanned out tail feathers -- menurkeys.

"A modern tradition that will be timeless only this year,” joked son Jeremy Allen, an online editor for Vogue Magazine.

But the Hanukkah/Thanksgiving mash-up means more to the Allens.

It means the kids are home from New York City for both holidays, instead of having to choose. And it means more interest in their faith and traditions.

"I've had at least three texts today that say 'Happy Thanksgivukkah' from my non-Jewish friends," Rebekah said.

“It’s such an easy hashtag,” Jeremy added. “#Thanksgivukkah. It becomes very viral. For the first time in a while, Judaism seems to have cool, cultural-social cache to it.”

Richard Allen noticed it, too. He teaches radio/TV/film at TCU.

“I think more of the students wished me happy Hanukkah than ever before, because we’re all going home to celebrate different holidays together,” he said. “So our differences are less noticeable, and our commonality is stronger.”

Something to be thankful for.

Gobble tov.

E-mail jdouglas@wfaa.com

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