By Laura Seymour
It is almost Thanksgiving and the children ask, “Is Thanksgiving a Jewish holiday?” Well, Thanksgiving is not really a Jewish holiday but being thankful is definitely a Jewish thing to do. In fact, we have many, many ways to remind us what we should be thankful for — we say blessings! Our sages tell us that we should say 100 blessings a day. Isn’t it wonderful to be able to stop and say “thank you” for all that we have? There are so many blessings for so many different things, but you can always start with the “blessing opening”: Baruch atah Adonai, elohaynu melech ha olam… Blessed are You O Lord our G-d… Then just add in what you are thankful for. Stop 100 times a day and say “thank you.” It will change how you look at the world.
Now is the time to go to the bookstore for “thankful” books — there are many that are perfect to read for Thanksgiving. Here are a few suggestions.
“Blessed Are You – Traditional Everyday Hebrew Prayers” by Michelle Edwards. Many blessings in Hebrew,
English and transliterated with wonderful pictures to go along with the words.
“Modeh Ani Means Thank You” by Ruth Lipson. This book begins with modeh ani, which we say when we wake up, and then goes through the many things we are thankful for.
“Thank You, God! A Jewish Child’s Book of Prayers” by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler. Lots more wonderful blessings and prayers with beautiful pictures.
“Grateful — a Song of Giving Thanks” by John Bucchino with a recording of the song by Art Garfunkel. Singing our thanks adds another element of joy to saying thanks.
“Thanks & Giving All Year Long” by Marlo Thomas and Friends. A book filled with songs and stories for the whole year!
This is just a beginning but, for me, I always like to be able to pull out a book to help children (and grownups) learn. I would tell my own children, “If people smarter than me are telling us to do something, it must be a good idea.” So don’t believe me — listen to our sages and people throughout the ages — being thankful is a wonderful way of life.
Laura Seymour is director of camping services and Jewish life and learning at the Jewish Community Center of Dallas.