This year, the American holiday of Thanksgiving – established by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 and celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November since FDR mandated that in 1939 – and the Jewish holiday of Chanukah fall on the same day. According to Chabad.Org’s “brief history” of the two holidays, this has happened three times in history: 1888, 1899 and 1918. (There are two “Texas only” exceptions that I will ignore; not many Jews in Texas). The confluence is projected to happen again in 2070, assuming that the Thanksgiving celebratory day remains the same.
This is more than a footnote in history. Wikipedia has an extensive, carefully written and well-research web page on “Thanksgivukkah” (complete with 61 references and five additional external links). A Google search on the name comes up with more than 4.5 million hits. For those who do not know, Thanksgiving has always been a favourite holiday for American Jews: seen as a secular Sukkot-like celebration, American Jews have warmly embraced Thanksgiving, giving them a “holiday season” opportunity to participate as “Americans” so close to the overwhelming (and off-putting, for many) Christmas.