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Haddy The Hebrew: The Jews have Thanksgiving every week

Your closest family and friends surround the table. You’re dressed nicely, eating special food and are reflecting on what you’re most grateful for. Sounds like Thanksgiving, right? It’s actually the Jewish holiday Shabbat. 

Shabbat, meaning “rest” in English, occurs every week and is a central part of Jewish law. 

Everything is planned around Shabbat. It’s the most important part of the week. On Shabbat, we are obligated to follow a special set of laws that restricts us from doing work, allowing us to partake in the holy day fully and not be distracted by the unholy aspects of the rest of the week. 

Similarly, Thanksgiving is a time when most Americans are known to come together with their closest friends and families. The holiday is characterized by quality time, massive amounts of food and an overall feeling of gratitude. 

However, all of these qualities that make Thanksgiving so special is also what makes up the weekly Jewish holiday of Shabbat. Thanksgiving is a very similar experience to Shabbat. It just happens Thursday evening rather than Friday evening. 

Thanksgiving is good for the Jews because it is a way to mesh American tradition with Jewish values. I can partake in an American tradition and dedicate a day to being grateful for being a citizen without having to sacrifice my Jewish culture. Also, for families like mine, it is a way to have a Shabbat-like experience with the important people in my life who are not Jewish. At school, I can celebrate Shabbat with Chabad. But at home during Thanksgiving, I can celebrate a similar holiday with my blended family.

A piece of advice for all my Jewish readers: take a weekly moment of thanksgiving on Shabbat. Sit down with your friends and family, and appreciate your week. 

For my non-Jewish readers, take time out of your week to reflect and be grateful. This is a practice that psychology, life coaches and religion all agree works to improve one’s mental and emotional health. Bringing this spark into your week brightens your entire life. 

Thanksgiving, regardless of whether or not you have another holiday that’s similar to it, should be a time when you take in some of the Shabbat customs. It should be a time to unplug, even just for a few hours, and really appreciate the people around you. Happy Thanksgiving, and an early Shabbat Shalom.   

Hadass Galili is a junior studying political science pre-law at Ohio University.  Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Hadass by tweeting her at @HadassGalili

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