In our house, the Thanksgiving scene in the movie AVALON never ceases to inspire peals of hearty laughter. Lou Jacobi plays the uncle who arrives late on Thanksgiving to discover that the family- all gathered around a tightly packed table- has not waited for him. Sin of all sins, they sliced the turkey without him!! The best line in all of moviedom follows: “Vat? You carved the turkey? Vat kind of family doesn’t vait for the honcle to carve the turkey?”

Growing up in New England, Thanksgiving was a sacred day! Our shul had a special Thanksgiving “service” early in the day so that people could leave shul and go home to the bird. Back in the sixties, there was hot competition over who would get the black church to come for an ecumenical service. The winning church or synagogue could claim the civil rights crown for the year!!

Back at the house, the feast was nothing short of wretched excess. First the soup. Then the chopped liver. Then two salads. The pepper kugel. The sweet kugel. Two turkeys with different stuffings in each. Brisket. Chicken for those who didn’t eat turkey. Mashed potatoes. Baked potatoes. Baked sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes with maple syrup and marshmallows. Sweet potato pie. Home baked rolls. Sweet and sour meat balls. The Ko-Jel mold with fruit cocktail in it. (Why did someone always bring it in LIME??)

After all of that, came dessert: pecan pie, Devil’s Food cake, pudding pie, pumpkin pie, ambrosia (hard to make pareve in those days), brownies, Mun cookies (ie, poppy seed cookies), apple pie, and tea. Our mom would wave one tea bag over a gallon pot of water and serve lightly colored, flavorless tea. She would say to one and all: “I don’t like dark tea.” Someone would yell back, “I don’t like colored water,” and the battle began. Until then, everyone had been on his/her best behavior, but that one comment would suffice to open the flood gates of vituperation. And so it began. By the time the men dropped off into a L-tryptophane induced sleep and the women were off in the kitchen preparing the buffet that would be put out for the rest of the day, the war would be over, and we kids could go back to watching Channel Nine (in the greater Metro NYC area) and all the monkey movies that they showed all day: Kong, Son of Kong, Bride of Kong, Kong and the Jews, Kong Converts, etc……..

What a day it was! As my zeyda would say: such much to be “tenkful” for.

The whole staff of the UTJ and the Kosher Nexus wishes you a wonderful thanksgiving.

Posted on November 24, 2004 at 5:48 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink
In: General Topics, Uncategorized

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