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American Jews: Don’t Celebrate Thanksgiving

American Jews: Don’t Celebrate Thanksgiving

By Shimon Apisdorf

Dear American Jews,

This is not the year for a typical Thanksgiving,

because this is not a time to be a typical American. Jew.


Dear American Jews, this is no time to celebrate.

Dear American Jews, just skip Thanksgiving this year.

This is not a time to …

… savor your turkey.

… watch football.

… pass the cranberries.

… sit around a table and laugh.

… be a typical American, on the road, or in the air.


Sit around your family table, and ask yourselves …

… what would we be feeling tonight if one of our nieces, nephews, neighbors, friends, or friend of a friend had witnessed and survived the onslaught of October 7th? Had attended the Nova music festival with her fiancé, fled with him in utter panic under a hail of bullets, watched him being shot at point blank range, and then had to “play dead” in a dumpster filled with bloodied young corpses.

… what would we be feeling tonight if someone we know was being held hostage by those that beheaded babies, gang raped girls, slaughtered the elderly, burned Jewish families alive on October 7th, and sent videos home to their proud parents; parents that yes—yes—were celebrating their children’s achievements.

… what would we be feeling tonight if it was our grandmother, granddaughter, parent, child, sibling, uncle, or cousin that was being held hostage by Hamas?

Ask Yourselves

What would we be doing tonight if one of those families was us?

Think about that this thanksgiving, as a family.

Instead of celebrating, think about what you can do, in whatever American city you reside, or on whatever American campus you cower.

Don’t leave your table until you have come up with a list of ideas, a family let’s-do-something list.

Then, take your feelings and ideas and turn them into a commitment.

Turn them into action.

And then, as a family, give thanks.

And find some comfort in knowing that:

Chanukah is just around the corner.

And that this year you used the last Thursday in November as your launch date for bringing some light—the light of your American family—to countless families in Israel that are fighting against the brutal forces of darkness with every ounce of strength they have.

In honor of Noam, who longed to marry David.

Noam, who struggles to lift herself from a wheelchair, and who together with friends and family, gathers to sing and offer endless thanks for having had David Newman in their lives.

And in memory of David Newman. Dovid Yair Shalom Neman ben Chaya and Moshe Meir.

Last seen by Noam, his wife to be, as a Hamas beast shot him at point blank range.

And in honor of David’s dear friends who, the day after the October 7th slaughter, got together and said, “Let’s do something,” and transformed their pained, tear-soaked gratitude into Soldiers Save Lives. Friends that have devoted every day since then to one singular mission; honoring David by supporting and saying thank you to the 300,000 civilians that left their spouses, businesses, classrooms, children, and careers behind, and who now fight, and die, to protect the State of Israel.

American Jews: Don’t Celebrate Thanksgiving

About the Author

Shimon Apisdorf is the founder of Operation Home Again, the first organization solely devoted to community-based Aliyah. He has also authored ten books that have sold over a quarter million copies and have won two Benjamin Franklin awards.

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