Monday, November 14, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

Last year, when my parents came to visit for Chanukah, the Jewish holiday happened to fall closer to Thanksgiving rather than Christmas.  I had wanted to take my parents to the Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, for their very fancy gorge-yourself Thanksgiving dinner, which takes place even on the appropriate day every year, the last Thursday of November.  We're talking all the traditional foods, plus...salads and appetizers and desserts galore.  All that's missing are the Black Friday sales the day after the feast.

Unfortunately, Raphaela and I were not feeling 100%, and my parents used the opportunity to fulfill an obligation to visit Ultra-Orthodox relatives, so we missed the first opportunity in too many years to celebrate Thanksgiving together, as a family.

This year, I decided that I would take Raphaela to this meal at the Inbal Hotel, no matter how much it cost and no matter how late it starts, because I want to start a new Israeli tradition with her.  I remember and appreciate where I came from, all that my American cultural background has given me, and the positive memories I have of our extended family gathering at my grandmother's house on Thanksgiving each year.  And my grandmother was a phenomenal cook and baker, we did indeed stuff ourselves.

Then I thought, it would be more fun to go with other American friends, those who still think about this holiday with pleasure and pride in their heritage and upbringing.  That's where I got stuck:  my one close (single) friend who would have come with us will actually be in the States this year for Thanksgiving.  Another American couple I know have other plans with work friends for the meal. 

Turns out that most of my close friends in Israel are not English speakers, nor Americans, but rather Israeli, Russian-Israeli or some European version thereof.  After 14 years in this country, most would congratulate me on a successful integration into Israeli society, and some part of me feels most pleased at this surprising realization.  The other part of me could not fall asleep last night, mining my brain to come up with one name of an American whom I could invite.


Sarah said...

I'd go, at least in theory (the cost is an issue), but I was invited to a Thanksgiving dinner at someone's house. :-)

Commenter Abbi said...

Instead of shelling out a lot of money (which, I'm not against at all), if you want to celebrate with friends, consider hosting a festive Thanksgiving Friday night dinner with all the trimmings and invite your American friends for that. Or, invite others and introduce them to American Thanksgiving.

You don't even really need a whole turkey. A turkey breast does just fine, you can even stuff it if you split it in half and then tie it up after stuffing.

Or, just go with Raphaela. But I'll be honest, she probably won't appreciate it that much, and you might come home disappointed that she didn't experience what you wanted her to.

Amy Charles said...

Doc, I can't remember the last time I had Americans over for Thanskgiving. Last year it was a French woman and her child & just after that my Canadian boyfriend. Year before, a pair of German doctors and their boys. We were invited to the celebration put on by the Romanians down the street, but never made it. It's a meal, everyone has reason to be thankful, so why not?