Turkey and mashed potatoes are going kosher this year.
For the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving coincides with another celebration — the first full day of Hanukkah.
Since that won't happen again for another 77,000-plus years, local Jews are not letting the rare occasion slip by without raising a latke and turkey leg in honor of Thanksgivukkah. Many are ringing in the milestone in typical South Florida style — with pool parties, multicultural foods, even "menurkeys."
Waterfront pool party
Take pumpkin kugel and sweet potato latkes, mix them with some pumpkin-infused alcoholic beverages and invite 75 friends poolside to an exclusive private home in Fort Lauderdale and — voila! — you've got a Thanksgivukkah bash, South Florida-style. Dana Schwartz, owner of DL Events & Promotions in Fort Lauderdale, wanted to do something special for friends and clients and came up with the "first ever, only ever Thanksgivukkah pool party." The event, on Nov. 16, kicked off eight days of "lights, liberty and latkes." A friend let her use her Hendricks Isle home in the swanky Intracoastal neighborhood off Las Olas Boulevard. And guests brought their own culinary combinations — like pumpkin jelly doughnuts (or sufganiyot, as the fried treats are called in Hebrew) — and reveled in the fun that included shots, loud music and prizes.
To make sure area residents are prepared for the once-in-a-lifetime holiday combination, Whole Foods Market in Coral Springs provided a free cooking class last Thursday. On the menu: latkes with cranberry applesauce, Brussels sprouts with pastrami and apple cider caramel cobbler. A sign of Thanksgivukkah's popularity: All 40 spots were reserved a full two weeks before the class took place, said store spokesman Jonny Rose.
Meet the 'menurkey'
Fifth-graders at Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton got to express their creativity with "menurkeys" — turkey-shaped menorahs made from clay and other materials. "Although for decoration only, these sculptures are sure to make this one-of-a-kind holiday one that is remembered forever," the school said in a news release.
Turkey menorah product line
Ever seen a menorah protruding from the belly of a stuffed turkey? This year, you will. Traditions Judaica Gifts store, at the Festival Flea Market Mall in Pompano Beach, has a new line of Thanksgivukkah products — including placemats, aprons, mugs and a Double Chocolate Cocoa tin. Featuring the company's custom-designed "When Holidays Collide" turkey menorah, the products range in price from $3.99 to $15. Since debuting four weeks ago at the store and on its website, TraditionsJewishGifts.com, thousands of the Thanksgivukkah products have been sold, owner Wendy Silver-Gordon said. "We've been having a blast with it," she said.
Like Jewish families across South Florida, Boca Raton Hebrew school teacher Andrea Mass and her loved ones will be hosting their own private Thanksgivukkah party. When her family joins her cousin's family at their home in Deerfield Beach, the table will bear the gold and silver colors of both holidays and the menu will feature turkey-shaped challah, latkes with cranberry-flavored applesauce, doughnuts drizzled with homemade cranberry glaze, and cookies baked with chocolate turkeys and gelt. "Hanukkah is very Americanized, and Thanksgiving is based on a Jewish holiday [Sukkot], so we're combining a bit of both," Mass said. "The kids are really excited. It's fun."
Staff writer Johnny Diaz contributed to this report.