Thanksgiving Thoughts and Memories

I was trying to figure out what to write about the holiday of Thanksgiving, when I decided to revisit the posts I had written on this subject in the last four years. These posts brought back memories, good ones, and terrible ones; and changed my mood from happy, to somber.

In 2007, I wrote about our family tradition of making homemade pizza on Thanksgiving day, and having a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings (except for the green beans; we rarely made green beans, I don't know why; 'cause I love 'em) Friday night, for the first Shabbat meal.

In 2008, Pakistani terrorists murdered 164 people in the Indian city of Mumbai, including torturing and murdering Rabbi Gavriel and Rebbetzin Rivka Holtzberg in Nariman House, the Chabad Jewish Center there.  Rebbetzin Holtzberg was six months pregnant.

As we have not learned the lessons from this attack, and evil still exists in the world and is called by many other names but its true one, I have decided, upon this Thanksgiving, to re-post that post from 2008, and to link my first Thanksgiving post which I wrote in 2007 (I began this blog in March 2006, after the holiday).  May all of you learn the lesson. 

Thanksgiving, and Atrocities

I was going to reprise my Thanksgiving post of last year and write about how we were both thinking that without our kids being with us-just the two of us making homemade pizza and sitting at the table staring at each other just didn't cut it somehow - when we got a surprise call from new friends inviting us to their Thanksgiving dinner!
It was right up the kazoo, especially because I was feeling rather lonely just then (my grandson just having been born and my seeing him on the webcam only...not in person...and my not seeing my other grandchildren who live out of state, and. . . )
And we had (and I hope our hosts had) a wonderful time, especially since their older daughter was a former student of mine, and it was great seeing her again all grown-up and back for a visit. She also won our Balderdash game. Darn.
But what I will do is link my Thanksgiving post, here, so you can read it. Just so you know that this year, we had two Thanksgiving dinners: one on the actual day, and one with invited guests, on Friday night. And leftovers for Shabbat lunch. And dinner today. And. . . (it's ok, I love the stuff).
My daughter Toodles Im-ed ("instant messaged") with me and said HUH? You're NOT having pizza?! That's no fun (she went with her big bro to the Israeli Thanksgiving dinner below).
My older son ("Mister") and his lovely wife Hoody actually went to a sort-of Thanksgiving dinner (on Friday night, of course) at his sister-in-law's, albeit Israeli style: they had to order a turkey in advance because you can't just buy a whole turkey in Israel, and they didn't have cranberry sauce or sweet potato and pineapple casserole or pumpkin pie or pecan pie or chocolate silk pie; instead, they had salads as sides. But it's nice that they celebrated it; after all, they had lived in California for ten kinda rubbed off on them...
My youngest daughter Rambo was off this past weekend but met with friends for Shabbat (no Thanksgiving dinner for her); she has just started her 4-month Commander's Course, and gave us a call because it will be a while before we can talk to her again.
We webcamed with our younger son, Nathaniel Blumenstein (the one who just became a poppa), and showed him (I brought them downstairs from the kitchen specifically for this) the remainder of our chocolate silk, pumpkin (thanks to our friend E.!) pies and our cranberry sauce. His eyes popped open; but I think he was just being polite, as he had just had an al-ha-aish* diinner at home with his wife Noodles and Baby Bob.
All in all, it would have been a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Except it was not.

I am still reeling and seething from the horrific attack on foreigners and JEWS in Mumbai, and I am filled with rage at the senseless, barbaric murder of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, who were shluchim* at the "Jewish Center," Chabad House (called Nariman House).
I read the information provided by the one terrorist captured alive on Little Green Footballs, and I am sick to my stomach.
We had a community memorial service today in one of our synagogues, and our Rabbi (we go to a Chabad shul*) spoke about continuing to spread the light, by doing mitzvot,* keeping Shabbat,* and encouraging others to similarly do so. To continue to do our good work, so that these evil barbarians will not triumph in their attempt to kill the good and make evil rule.
I will go a step further than that. There are no more excuses, no more 'reasons,' no more justifications for barbarous acts such as these, where cowardly murderers--plain and simple--rampage through train terminals, hotels, restaurants and Jewish Centers mowing unarmed innocent civilians down, because they can. It is our job to make it so that they can't.
"Never Again" should mean just that: Never Again. Never again should Jews allow themselves to be targeted. Never again should anyone--Jew and non-Jew alike--allow anarchistic terrorists to bring fear into the hearts of law-abiding people, who want to live their lives in peace and do good in the world. Pashut me'od*, we need to eradicate them. The entire world needs to be in an outrage over this, and needs to unite to eradicate the evil that is Islamofascism which is waging war against the free world.
I listen to NPR (National Public Radio, although we call it, because of it's anti-Israel biased reporting "National Palestinian Radio") every morning. You know that the situation is dire, when that leftist-liberal public radio station airs an editorial by Scott Simon which states exactly what I said above. I almost fell out of bed when I heard it (read the entire editorial, here):
I get increasingly uncomfortable with the convention of journalism that requires us to say that so far, we don't know the motives of the people who carried out this week's attacks in Mumbai.A word like "motive" seems to imply there was reason or purpose. It suggests that, however profane their actions, the terrorists had the incentive of some goal in mind.
But after covering too many killings, as a reporter or host, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Oklahoma City or Somalia, I've come to the conclusion that the perpetrators of such crimes might just be ... evil.
Evil is a word that many people of my generation shrink from using. It seems so imprecise and uneducated — biblical, rather than cerebral and informed.
But there are times and crimes that remind me how often the Bible gets it right.
Finally, someone who has the guts to say it outright: these people are evil. There is no discussion, no reasoning with them; one cannot reason with pure evil. What they want, is to murder YOU, and put themselves in power-plain and simple.
Until the world recognizes this and acts against political correctness, we are doomed.
Many people, Jews and non-Jews alike, are only concerned with doing good deeds and Tikkun Olam-repairing the world; it is the name of this blog. Why, why are they being targeted and murdered? Listen to what the Israeli ambassador to the United States is saying in this phone interview; the West needs to recognize this threat. And may G-d (and we) avenge their deaths. . .
In the meantime, we Jews will continue to live, and thrive, and bring goodness to the world.

Here is one thing you can do to help bring goodness to the world and do Tikkun Olam: Go to my son's friend's (Yoshi's) blog here, and find out how you can help raise $10,000 to rebuild The Jewish Center (Chabad House) in Mumbai, as well as contribute to the raising of little Moshe Holtzberg, who celebrated his 2nd birthday by becoming an orphan. . .

*al ha-aish=BBQ (literally, "on the fire.")
*shluchim=emissaries of the Lubavitcher Chassidim who go out to live often in far off places to help and serve the Jews there.
*mitzvot= commandments, good deeds
*keeping Shabbat=observing the Sabbath
*pashut me'od='plain & simple' (literally: "very simple")

Let me end on a positive note, with my Thanksgiving post of 2007, here.  Have a Happy Thanksgiving.


Batya said…
Nothing can substitute for my childhood Thanksgivings. me-ander: It's Not Thanksgiving If It's Not At Aunt Pauline's...
Lady-Light said…
Batya: Yes, we have warm memories of our youth, and memories of family are the best of them, and the most nostalgic...

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