Thanksgivukkah: Odd Facts and a Delicious Recipe

By Sophie Kaufman

Thanksgivukkah logo

This year at Eldridge Street, we are marking the unlikely conjunction of two favorite family holidays: Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. This joint holiday has been dubbed Thanksgivukkah and it is the first time the two have come together in 125 years.  We will celebrate this Sunday, November 24th with a Thanksgivukkah Extravaganzikah! A Two-Hour Holiday Special. We’ll make a Turkey-shaped challah, Thanksgivukkah art and gelt, and go on a Great Dreidel Scavenger Hunt.

The eight-day Hanukkah festival of 2013 begins at sundown on November 27th, the evening before Thanksgiving. Although the two holidays would have overlapped in 1861, President Abraham Lincoln did not formally establish the Thanksgiving holiday until two years later, in 1863. Therefore, this year will officially mark the first Thanksgivukkah in history. The two holidays won’t coincide again until the year 79811 due to the mathematics of the Hebrew and secular calendars, so we’re making sure to take advantage of this once in a lifetime celebratory opportunity!

Even Stephen Colbert, pictured hosting The Colbert Report, is excited about this once in a lifetime event!

Even Stephen Colbert, pictured hosting The Colbert Report, is excited about this once in a lifetime event!

As we stop to consider the joining of these two, seemingly different holidays, we found a number of similarities that proved their overarching relatedness. For example, both holidays promote the coming together of family for celebratory festivities and delicious food. Both holidays are also related to a desire to heal from devastating war. Both holidays also point to the future, reigning in perspectives of peace and understanding. Thanksgiving and Hanukkah celebrated together emphasize a desire to pause our hectic lives, gather with loved ones, and give thanks for all that we have.

How are we at Eldridge Street celebrating the Thanksgivukkah holiday? Obviously, with food! As we brainstormed possibilities for new combinations, our Education and Programs Associate Sara Lowenburg passed on her mother’s recipe for Cranberry Apple Sauce. Because it includes cranberries and apples, it is perfect for serving with both latkes and stuffing!

Jane’s Cranberry Apple Sauce – serves 10-12

Apples and cranberries? What could be better!

Apples and cranberries? What could be better!


2 bags of fresh cranberries, washed

1 large Red Delicious apple (or 2 medium sized Gala apples), chopped fine

1 really large or 2 medium naval oranges (chopped fine; take out seeds)

Approximately 1 cup of raisins

Approximately 1/2 cup honey (a few large glops) – or ½ sugar; sweeten to taste

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


In large covered saucepan, soup pan, or covered skillet, put all ingredients, plus approximately 1/2 cup water (enough to cover bottom of pan to about 1/2 inch, once all ingredients are in it.) Cover pan, bring to boil. Take top off and stir everything, then re-cover and turn heat down so that it simmers and cooks down. (Add a bit of water if the bottom seems dry.) Take top off and stir, every few minutes. Taste and see if it is sweet enough. Add honey or sugar to taste. Add a bit more cinnamon if you like. Keep stirring and tasting, and don’t let it stick to the pan, too much. Once everything has softened and sort of blended together, take it off the heat and let it cool down. You want the cranberries cooked, but it’s good to still be “chunky” with the apples. It will soften even more as it cools. Spoon it into a serving dish. Put it in the fridge overnight, covered, to chill and the flavors will blend together. Serve chilled.

Still in need of more Thanksgivvukkah ideas? This Sunday, November 24th, we will be hosting a special family event entitled Thanksgivukkah Extravaganzikah! A Two-Hour Holiday Special. The event will celebrate the Thanksgivukkah spirit with Thanksgiving gelt, Thanksgivukkah art, and a Great Dreidel Scavenger Hunt. Come join the festivities and learn about new recipes, games and decorations to take home!

Also, Check out our Pinterest page and Facebook for more great Thanksgivukkah ideas.

Categories: Blog, Jewish History, Recipes

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