I grew up in Montreal Canada in a mostly Jewish hood.I went to a parochial Jewish school from kindergarten to 3’rd grade and on the walls of the school were the portraits of Theodore Herzl, the father of Zionism, and Queen Elizabeth in that order. The flag was the Union Jack and also the flag of Israel.
My family never celebrated Thanksgiving.It was regarded as something the Christians did and in fact my first Thanksgiving was when i was 9 and our next door neighbor Grossman who was a Jew married to a Christian ,an oddity in the hood invited our whole family for a Thanksgiving dinner with a turkey and all the trimmings.That was the first time i ever had cranberry sauce and i was hooked. It was a window into another world for me. No one yelled at the table. with politics ..There were no food fights or arguments about whose kugel was better .
Everything was proper and genteel so far from the Jewish ghetto i was raised in ,even though their house was 50 feet away. It was another world…Grace Grossman was a wonderful and kind woman and she beamed as we walked in the Lipsin family from the Ghetto 50 feet away. I started at her with great interest as if studying someone from outer space. It wa s different culture for certain and it was ok….Still my family didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.We had enough with Chanukah and Passover and Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and Shavuos and Lag Baomer and Purim and the rest of the Megilla ! Somehow Thanksgiving got overlooked …
Later on with the birth of my son we would gather with both sides of the family but by then we were vegetarians and we didn’t have turkey.
It really wasn’t until i immigrated to America did i get how big Thanksgiving really was.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Days arose during the colonial period. The earliest Canadian Thanksgiving was held in 1578, when Martin Frobisher the British explorer held a ceremony in present-day Newfoundland to give thanks for a safe arrival in the New World.
In 1879, Parliament established a national Thanksgiving day on November 6; but that always fell on the remembrance day weekend so in 1957, Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated in Canada on the second Monday in October in tune with our earlier harvest.
Personally i give thanks everyday that i am healthy and free and curious after all these years .When i wake up or see a sunset or sunrise i offer a prayer one could say of thanks.
Anyways have a good thanksgiving everyone!