Welcome to what might be your most meaningful Thanksgiving ever. Sounds like a bit of a plot twist, right? Well, 2020 has been a helluva year. Many of us aren’t at our traditional family gatherings and feeling grateful is a bit of a challenge. It’s with that in mind that JewBelong took extra pains in putting together this year’s Thanksgiving booklet. Think of it as a guide to help deepen the experience of meaning, connection, and joy at your “table,” like the Haggadah at a Passover Seder. The booklet is a collection of readings, blessings, songs and activities (yes, Zoom games are fantastic!) that are mostly focused on the theme of gratitude. Some of the content is Jewish-themed, and all of it is human-themed. Enjoy!

Family and food. What could be more Jewish?

Thanksgiving Activities

It’s time to focus on the thanks part of Thanksgiving! Take turns sharing two (or more) things that you’re thankful for this year. Maybe something big like health, your new job, girlfriend or baby, spending down-time with family, or something smaller… like say, your sourdough starter or that new TV show “Tehran” (crazy good!) or that this inside time has given you time to clean your closets and that feels good. Don’t skimp on the details…what do you make with the sourdough starter? Also, have there been any good surprises that you have learned from the pandemic? Don’t be afraid to open your heart a little. If you do, others will too, and the connection and warmth will spread faster than the latest TikTok dance. Take turns by having the last person who speaks choose the next person to talk.

 

See all 3 Thanksgiving Activities

Thanksgiving Readings

Prayer for Our Country

- Robert F. Kennedy

First line: Let no one be discouraged by the belief that there is nothing one person can do against the enormous array of the world’s ills, misery, ignorance and violence. Last line: Crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples can build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Thanksgiving Prayer

- Rabbi Naomi Levy

Even with the imperfections of the US right now, this reading reminds us that we are blessed to be a part of this nation.

First line: For the laughter of the children, for my own life breath. Last line: Thank You, God, for giving us all these. Amen.

Thanks for the Memories

- Meredith Grey (Grey's Anatomy)

Good old Shonda Rhimes, who brought us Grey’s Anatomy and its star, Meredith Grey, that somewhat confounding character who brought us so many laughs, tears, and thoughtful moments like this one.

First line: Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Last line: At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

See All 18 Thanksgiving Readings

Our Thanksgiving Haggadah has answers to everything. Except what to cook for your vegan daughter.

Thanksgiving Songs

What A Wonderful World

-Robert Thiele and George David Weiss

This popular song is always a crowd hit (especially for those of us born after 1960). It’s been re-recorded many times since then. A beautiful addition for your celebration.

First line: I see trees of green, red roses too. Last line: What a wonderful world…

Star-Spangled Banner

-Francis Scott Key and John Stafford Smith‎

First line: O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light. Last line: O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?…

This Land Is Your Land

-Woody Guthrie

First line: This land is your land, This land is my land. Last line: From the Redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters This land was made for you and me…

See All 3 Thanksgiving Songs

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