A Kosher Thanksgiving

This year be inclusive and accommodate your fellow Jew.

See More

Comments (33)

(33) billy kirwan, December 2, 2010 2:50 PM

Love your statements about Kosher

What else can I say, thanks Mrs Palatnik. billy k (rom828)

(32) , November 25, 2010 9:27 PM


(31) Anonymous, November 24, 2010 11:25 AM

Relevant Even in Israel

This article rang so true for me, even in Israel, my workplace had a dinner for our department at at non-kosher place. Their reasoning was "it's a democracy, and you are in the minority - so majority rules and we decide to have the dinner at that non-kosher place". Of course, the vegetarian of the group went and was very happy with his pasta, even though he was sitting among plates full of pork. In Israel! This has happened on other occasions as well. Is this what democracy means to Israelis??

(30) Ellie, November 24, 2010 8:33 AM

One More Ingredient to Thanksgiving

I am also 1/2 First Native---Thanksgiving has been a difficult holiday to celebrate for many of my people. The white-washed view of the holiday is nothing like the truth--as we all know, either has the Jew been listened to when it comes to the truth of Torah. Just want to add, many of us fast and my family adds prayers for the ancestors that died to keep their land belonging to G-d alone. Just as Israel is the only true home for the Neshoma, my heart is also rooted in this country to some day be free for all my people, Jew or not. So, I hope that those that thank G-d for being here in freedom (as best as it could be for some of us), there are still 1,000s of Natives living without water, homes, food & health care denied them by the same gov't that broke every treaty it made. Just read about the "Trail of Tears" and Jackson, also why we are fighting for the baseball team, Cleveland Indians to change their logo. There are many enemies out there, some just hide behind different banners.

(29) Joanne, November 24, 2010 4:06 AM

My Family Rocks!

My sister-in-law buys a kosher turkey. I explained to her and my sister how to kasher pots and they have made it possible to have a kosher Thanksgiving for my sake, the observant one. This about the 3rd or 4th year. I feel very lucky. Yes, Lori, there are some Jews who are inclusive.

(28) Annette, November 24, 2010 3:07 AM

turkey yes, thanksgiving...NO!

I'm Canadian; raised in SouthAmerica where we never heard of Thanksgiving; I married a non jew who's birthday is around the Canadian Thanksgiving in October; I always made him a birthday turkey (LOL); I became observant later in life and found Sukkot to be the best Thanksgiving... ever ! 100% Jewish on Jewish time. No accomodating needed...ever ! (in fact, every day all day long is a good time to be thankful) I'm glad others find a time to be thankful I'll stick to the jewish calendar of events organized by The Almighty Himself, we're busy enough with the simchas He gives us

(27) Harry, November 23, 2010 10:54 PM


Where can I get a real, home made piece of kishke to go with my turkey? What good is kosher if you can't clog an artery or two?

(26) gord bushewsky, November 23, 2010 10:51 PM

Jewish Institutions

In my city, which you visited in September (for women only) the Hebrew school had a volunteer appreciation breakfast on the 17th of Tammuz, and BBYO an initiation breakfast on Tzom Gedalia. The school sends it's grade 9 grads to Israel more often than not on the 2nd day of Pesach, and does not care if chometz is consumed. I don't have too many options when it comes to institutions, however if my host wishes to serve treife, I have a choice, stay home

(25) Shari Baran, November 23, 2010 9:40 PM

Different levels of Kashrut

I agree that it isn't hard for everyone to eat kosher food and be inclusive, My problem is that I am more strictly kosher than the rest of my family. They will accept hasgachot that I don't. So while all the food is Kosher or from Kosher take out places, my family (daughter, sons, husband, grandchildren) are not comfortable eating it. So.. I end up bringing turkey and some side dishes for us to eat. Also, there is sometimes a problem with my parents or sisters heating up already made food that would be acceptable for us. The intention is there--we just get hung up on the technicalities. Happy Thanksgiving!

(24) Patty, November 23, 2010 8:02 PM

Having lived through this with my in-laws it has taught me to question my guests for allergies and food preferences when I invite people. I now know how to cook for vegetarians that eat fish, vegetarians that don't , vegans, gluten free, etc. I don't want my guests to be limited to salad and vegetables and feel unwelcome. Thank you for addressing this.

(23) , November 23, 2010 6:50 PM

I love listening to you! I can identify with what you said about Non-Jews. When I was at University in Cape Town, South Africa, the lecturers who had respect for me and changed exams that were scheduled on Shavuot for other days, were not Jewish. The dean of my faculty was a Jew and he was the one to give me a hard time, questioning where in the Torah it was written that I could not write an exam on a chag. The rabbi of my shul had to approach him and only then did his attitude change.

(22) Mati, November 23, 2010 6:05 PM

Non-religious Jews

When I was interviewing for a job as an architect, all the xtian firms were willing that could I keep kosher at their b-day celebrations and allow me to observe Shabbat and Yom Tov. Sadly, none of the Jewsh firms permitted this.

(21) david frankel, November 23, 2010 5:50 PM

just want to say youre show is inspiring

(20) Louise Doan, November 23, 2010 5:47 PM


A person who has discovered myself to have a Jewish mother I am seeking to walk in new, but ancient ways. I have no idea what a kosher turkey is or where to find one. Louise in Bismarck, ND

(19) Iris, November 23, 2010 5:22 PM

For the most part, it is not worth the effort

Mordechai in response#1 hit the nail right on the head. The onus is much too great for the non-kosher host and most frum Jews will just not eat in a traif home, unless they brought the food. I was raised in a kosher home, but do not keep kosher any more. I see no point to it. BUT, I would kosher my oven, buy food from Meal Mart to serve family and friends who required kosher. Some of my relatives still refuse to eat the food I serve because, according to them, I CAN NOT BE TRUSTED since I am not Shomer Shabbos. Respondent #2 is completely off base in their view that Thanksgiving should not be celebrated since it was not mentioned in the Torah. Well guess what? Purim, Chanukkah, Tu B'Shevat, Lag B'Omer, and Israel Independence Day are not listed in the Torah either. Should we not celebrate those days either? I have ba'al teshuva relatives like respondent #2. I have no use for them.

(18) Moishe Berl, November 23, 2010 5:21 PM

The non-Jew provided the Kosher arrangements

Interesting that for her daughter, the non-Jew provided the kosher party arrangements. Yes, for Jews, having to make special arrangements is threatening. I never thought of that. It's sad, isn't it?

(17) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 4:34 PM

Many, if not most non-observant Jews are not interested in the personal requirements of people that they consider almost totally nuts!

I have found that my family members & many others are resentful of even the suggestion that they have a kosher affair, or even provide kosher for the few, that require it. It is, on the other hand, politically correct to accomodate vegans, those w/ allergies, & the like. On various occasions my family has been told that we may not bring kosher food to the affair. They just don't want it around. Many think that we think that we are better than them & I believe that they would be happier not to have us around at any "food events". Somehow these people that I believe truly love us can separate the 2 parts of us, maybe like having a severely mentally challenged relative. Have you ever been invited for after the meal? The thing that has to be figured out, is how to make these fellow Jews really understand & not consider every eating event a clash of universal understanding, I also have found that many families of "kosher kin" resent any reference to G-d, at any time, & that might be the root of this problem, as either subconciously, or conciously eating kosher is a constant in your face, afirmation of G-d, by the "mental midgets" among them. We need to figure out how to make these people not feel challenged, & just be able to enjoy each other for who we are.

(16) Mordechai, November 23, 2010 4:34 PM

Response to #6 SusanE

You ask why we must double wrap foods reheated in an oven or microwave. By the way, all airplane kosher dinners are double wrapped for the same reason. It is because we don't want any vapors of flavors from the non-kosher oven to penetrate into the kosher food. Double wrapping avoids this. Happy Thanksgiving!

(15) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 4:12 PM


we dont need a goyish holiday to say thanks to the One Above. Personally i am with other observant Jews who do not keep holidays of the secular goyish calander. Im trying to do my best to observe all the holidays of the Torah with effort,.We can and should give thanks to G-d everyday and we dont need a goysih hooliday to remind us to do that.

(14) Larry Levine, November 23, 2010 4:09 PM

Beautiful thought and beautifully said. Happy Thanksgiving

(13) Anonymous, November 23, 2010 3:47 PM

Price of Kashruth

We are somewhat observant but not exactly shomer shabbos, etc., give to charity and don't feel put upon by what the overhead of the charity is. Nonetheless, I told my wife it would be great on a day of thanksgiving to have a kosher bird whereupon she called me and told me that the kosher supermarket was charging $ 4.00 a pound - $ 80.00 for a 20 pound bird and the traif market was charging $ .29 a pound - around $ 6.00 for traif. I don't understand why a mishagyach should earn the same as the best brain surgeon in the Western Hemisphere!?

(12) Michael, November 23, 2010 3:37 PM


Every year we go to my brother-n-law's house. They do not keep kosher, but we shlep enough food for our own family of 7, (and let's face it, with that many, it's another turkey's worth anyhow) heat it double-wrapped, and we eat our food, they eat theirs. I wouldn't dream of asking them to trouble themselves for us. On the other hand, when I was in college, I was going to stay in the dorm be myself over thanksgiving break. Instead, one of my non-Jewish friends invited me for the holiday. Fine, I thought, I'll survive on fresh fruits and veggies. If Daniel haNavi can do it for years, I can do it for a long weekend. But surprise, surprise, his mom actually went out of her way to find an Empire kosher BBQ turkey breast in a disposable container to prepare for me. I didn't even know those could be found in rural Maine! Really great Thanksgiving. You're right, though. Non-jews really do hold Observant Jews in great esteem.

(11) A B, November 23, 2010 3:28 PM


I think #2 may have some point. In 1789, President George Washington issued a general proclaimation naming November 26 a day of National Thanksgiving. At the same time that year, the Protestant Episcopal Church announced that the first Thursday in November would be set aside yearly for giving thanks. In 1888 the Roman Catholic Church formally recognized the day. The religious aspect of the first Thanksgiving celebration is obvious in from the first Thanksgiving Proclamation, June 20th, 1676 where it mentions JC. "The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by JC."

(10) Norm, November 23, 2010 3:26 PM

Comment on Kosher Thanksgiving

I want to commend you for this great post. In my opinion, Thanksgiving is America's only Spiritual holiday . . . Why diminish it by being selective in what you serve to whom? Serve Kosher to the best of your ability & enjoy. N.

(9) Chana, November 23, 2010 3:18 PM

I love this holiday!

I think Jewish people are a great part of society and the world. We should be able to participate everywhere and enjoy everything. Just because we are Kosher and Baal Teshuvah does not mean we can't attend the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and enjoy a wonderful holiday dinner together at home. I bought an Empire Turkey for my family, and my daughter is so excited about the entire meal. I even made Pumpkin Cake motsai shabbos so that I don't have to work too hard on Thursday. It will be wonderful to be together with my family. My husband is so happy because we can finally spend a little more time together with each other this week. Jewish people in the USA should be very thankful for all that we are able to be and do here in this country as well as New York. There are lots of states that don't allow Jewish people to take off the holidays without worrying about getting paid. So we should enjoy both worlds and be proud no matter what! Let us all be Thankful for the good we have in our lives!

(8) tammy, November 23, 2010 3:13 PM

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving Lori and everyone at Aish ! I'm thankful that I found this web-site. I love you ALL !!! ; )

(7) Adam Cohen, November 23, 2010 5:23 AM

Take Your None Jewish Friends / Family To Great Kosher Restaurants

Take Your None Jewish Friends and Family To Great Kosher Restaurants - all will enjoy a nice gathering, nice glatt hosher turkey and nice ambiance. Forget the issue whether or not Thanksgiving is a Jewish holiday. Try, Talia's Steakhouse, Le Marais and Solo. To me, as an observant Jew, this a another night out - but special. Even though it is Not written in the Torah.

(6) SusanE, November 22, 2010 7:20 PM

How Can Anyone be that Kosher?

How can a non-Jewish dinner host possibly accomodate a strict Kosher person? If I was strict vegan and you invited me for dinner, I would ask to bring something that I had made from home that integrated into your menu. I would never expect my host to have 2 or 3 different dietary offerings. If I was strict Kosher, and thought I was causing my non-Jewish host worry, couldn't I ask to bring a casserole type dish to share that was Kosher? Mordechai in the first comment, mentioned things that I didn't know about. Like the double wrapping of food. Is there a reason for that? And he talked about rules. I agree totally with his last few sentences, and also agree that there isn't an easy answer. So is it Kosher only at home? Or is it different levels of Kosher? Can you be an observant Jew and not keep Kosher? Thanks Lori

(5) Anonymous, November 22, 2010 7:23 AM

I must comment!

One of my close friends married an observant Jew and of course, became observant herself. I tried to host them for a meal in my home and it was very difficult. I would love to include observant Jews at my Thanksgiving table, but I would need to kosher my kitchen and seriously educate myself on the kosher laws.

(4) Phil, November 22, 2010 1:43 AM

There's a kosher dairy restaurant in town that serves chalav yisrael products. A small percentage of the clientele keep chalav yisrael. While I agree with Lori's message 100% percent, why is it that I feel that the restaurant should just serve regular kosher dairy, and not be "so inclusive"? The price difference between the products is significant.

(3) , November 21, 2010 9:51 PM

My parents are not observant. My mother (who is jewish) is not trustworthy when it comes to kosher food. She is often caught giving my kids traifus. My father who is not jewish has no problem with kashrus ideas and often tells my mother off.

(2) Anonymous, November 21, 2010 6:56 PM

Thanksgiving is NOT a jewish holiday!

I agree with your message Lori 100%! The only thing I have an issue with, is that thanksgiving is NOT a jewish holiday!!! We have our own rich heritage and holidays, why should any jewish person be celebrating a holiday that is not from the Torah?? I know that the idea behing Thanksgiving is nice, and that praising and thanking Hashem should definately be part of our daily living, but why should we have to do this in a way that was not asked by the Torah? Maybe I think this way bc I am candian and Thanksgiving here is not such a big deal, but every year, around this time, I am shocked to see how many articles about celebrating Thanksgiving in a "jewish" way appear all over the internet! It's like having a Christmas tree or dressing up to go trick or treating on Halloween... these are not our customs and, according to me, should not be celebrated by someone jewish. We have such a rich heritage we can learn and grow from, why not concentrate on what we have rather than adopting other customs?

(1) Mordechai, November 21, 2010 2:37 PM

Practically Impossible

It's not as easy as you say, Lori. Even if the non-religious person orders the entire meal (including the turkey with the trimmings) from a kosher caterer, once it's in the house, there are numerous problems. Firstly, one must use only plastic cutlery for everybody. Secondly, anything re-heated in a microwave or oven has to be double wrapped (aluminum foil in the oven and saran wrap in the microwave). This must be observed by the religious person. Thirdly, the religious person(s) would have to be there when the meal arrives at the house or when the seal on the meat is opened, because there is a rule that any meat product must have double seals on it that can only be opened by a religious person. Therefore, the host must not open any product with a seal until their religious relatives arrive. This would make it impractical to roast a turkey. From my own experience, ordering a TV dinner for the religious relatives while everyone else eats treif (non-kosher) is not too appetizing. Besides which, it is uncomfortable for the religous people to see their relatives sinning by eating non-kosher, even if they are keeping kosher. The only real solutions are either to have it in a kosher restaurant, or invite everyone to your house for turkey dinner, or lastly, to respectfully decline the invitation and go "Cold Turkey" !


Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment

Receive the Aish.com Weekly Email

Sign up to our Aish Weekly Update Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy