Religion

Obama makes Thanksgivingukah statement

Whether you love it or hate it, “Thanksgivingukah” has reached the highest political echelon of America: President Barak Obama issued a Thanksgivingukah best wishes. Complete with recipes for the dual holiday by Susan Barocas of DC-based Jewish Food Experience! Full message pasted below the fold.

Michelle and I send warm wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah.
For the first time since the late 1800s – and for the last time until some 70,000 years from now – the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. It’s an event so rare some have even coined it “Thanksgivukkah.” As we gather with loved ones around the turkey, the menorah, or both, we celebrate some fortunate timing and give thanks for miracles both great and small.
Like the Pilgrims, the Maccabees at the center of the Hanukkah story made tremendous sacrifices so they could practice their religion in peace. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, they reclaimed their historic homeland. But the true miracle of Hanukkah was what came after those victories almost 2200 years ago – the Jewish Temple was cleansed and consecrated, and the oil that was sufficient for only one day lasted for eight. As the first Hanukkah candle is lit, we are reminded that our task is not only to secure the blessing of freedom, but to make the most of that blessing once it is secure.
In that spirit Michelle and I look forward to joining members of the Jewish community in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world as we work together to build a future that is bright and full of hope. From my family to yours, Chag Sameach.


Thanksgivukkah!
Hanukkah begins tonight, but are you ready for the great holiday mashup coming on Thursday when Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah collide, creating what some are calling Thanksgivukkah? This once-in-many-lifetimes celebration has not happened since the late 19th Century and will not happen again for some 70,000 years!
These two holidays of gratitude marking struggles for religious freedom are also two major food holidays with Thanksgiving flavors—pumpkin, turkey, squash, cranberries and the whole cast of fall flavors sharing the over-burdened table with the annual excuse to enjoy the abundance without the guilt. Think fried turkey, challah stuffing, sweet potato latkes with cranberry applesauce, pumpkin doughnuts and so much more. And because of the convergence of the two holidays this year, we even have “menurkeys” (turkey menorahs).
Thanksgiving—and each night of Hanukkah—offer wonderful opportunities to connect with our own traditions, both religious and secular, come together with our families, and bring to the table people with different traditions, faiths and backgrounds as we together give thanks for and celebrate the miracles in our lives.
Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Matt Nosanchuk
President Obama’s Hanukkah Message
Today, the White House released the following statement by the President:
Michelle and I send warm wishes to all those celebrating Hanukkah.
For the first time since the late 1800s – and for the last time until some 70,000 years from now – the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving.  It’s an event so rare some have even coined it “Thanksgivukkah.”  As we gather with loved ones around the turkey, the menorah, or both, we celebrate some fortunate timing and give thanks for miracles both great and small.
Like the Pilgrims, the Maccabees at the center of the Hanukkah story made tremendous sacrifices so they could practice their religion in peace.  In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, they reclaimed their historic homeland.  But the true miracle of Hanukkah was what came after those victories almost 2200 years ago – the Jewish Temple was cleansed and consecrated, and the oil that was sufficient for only one day lasted for eight.  As the first Hanukkah candle is lit, we are reminded that our task is not only to secure the blessing of freedom, but to make the most of that blessing once it is secure.
In that spirit Michelle and I look forward to joining members of the Jewish community in America, in the State of Israel, and around the world as we work together to build a future that is bright and full of hope.  From my family to yours, Chag Sameach.
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Rabbi Larry Bazer participate in the Menorah lighting during the Hanukkah reception in the Gran
President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Rabbi Larry Bazer participate in the Menorah lighting during the Hanukkah reception in the Grand Foyer of the White House, Dec. 13, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Recipes for Thanksgivukkah
Finally, to celebrate the overlapping celebrations, we asked Susan Barocas, who heads the Jewish Food Experience, a local Washington, D.C.-area project that brings people together through the universal language of Jewish food, to provide us with some healthy recipes. The flavors and ingredients for this recipe can provide a great way to kick off or complement the Thanksgiving and Hanukkah meals.
Roasted Sweet Potato and Apple Soup
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into medium chunks
1 firm apple, such as Gala or Jonagold, peeled, cored and quartered
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
2 whole cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3-4 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
3/4 cup nonfat or low fat sour cream for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put the sweet potatoes, apples, onions and garlic in a roasting pan.  Toss them with the oil and a few shakes of salt and pepper.  Roast, tossing every 10 minutes, until they are soft, about 30 minutes. A good do ahead or delegate step, the potatoes, apple and onion can be peeled and cut and the garlic peeled, and then refrigerate all overnight until ready to roast and complete the dish.
Puree the vegetable/apple mixture in a blender or food processor (or in the pot using an immersion blender), first adding just enough broth to cover it.  Add more broth until the soup reaches the desired consistency, so it is smooth and not too thick.  If you are using a blender, you will probably need to puree the soup in two batches.
Warm the soup over low heat in a stockpot until ready to serve, or refrigerate it for up to 1 day or freeze it for up to 3 months. Stir in sour cream at the table for a creamier taste, if desired. Yield: 6 servings, about 1 ½ cup each
Zesty Cranberry Yogurt Sauce
2 cups whole cranberries, fresh or frozen
¾ cup dates, chopped
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
½ cup toasted walnut pieces
2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon orange zest for garnish
Cook cranberries, dates, orange juice and zest, cloves and cinnamon on low heat for 15 to 25 minutes until the cranberry skins break apart. Remove from heat and allow to cool and thicken.  Stir dried cranberries or raisins and walnut pieces into mixture, then cranberry sauce into Greek yogurt and garnish with orange zest. Yield: 10-14 servings as a sauce for latkes
Baked Pumpkin Spice Donuts
1 packet active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
1 1/3 cup slightly warm (not hot) milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs, beaten
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger powder or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon salt
Oil for greasing bowl
Stir yeast into 1/3 cup of warm milk. Mix the remaining cup of milk with butter, sugar, pumpkin puree and eggs and then add to yeast mixture. In an electric mixer bowl, whisk flour, spices and salt. Mix in the wet ingredients. Beat the dough with an electric mixer dough hook for 3 to 7 minutes or knead by hand for about 10 minutes. If the dough is too sticky, add more flour.
Once the dough is formed, it shouldn’t be too sticky and should pull away from your hands easily. Knead it a few times and place it an oiled bowl. Cover with a clean dishtowel and let rise in a warm place for an hour (similar to the process of making challah).
When the dough has grown, hit it down and roll it into a ½-inch thick sheet on a floured countertop. Use a doughnut cutter if you have one. If not, use a large glass or 3-inch round cookie cutter (I used a wide mouth mug) to cut the dough into circles. Use a much smaller glass or cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle of the circles.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and line up the circles on top with some space in-between. Cover the dough circles with a cloth and let rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake donuts for 8 to 10 minutes until tops are browned. When done, sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon and/or nutmeg, or enjoy plain. Yield: about 20 doughnuts

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