דער נײער קאָלאסוס | The New Collosus, by Emma Lazarus (1883), Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman (1938)

This is the sonnet, “The New Collosus” (1883) by Emma Lazarus set side-by-side with its Yiddish translation by Rachel Kirsch Holtman. Lazarus famously penned her sonnet in response to the waves of Russian-Jewish refugees seeking refuge in the Unites States of America as a result of murderous Russian pogroms following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Her identification and revisioning of the Statue of Liberty as the Mother of Exiles points to the familiar Jewish identification of the Shekhinah (the Divine Presence, in its feminine aspect) with the light of the Jewish people in their Diaspora. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, presented by Gershom Seixas on Thanksgiving Day 1789

The prayer for the government presented by Gershom Seixas at K.K. Shearith Israel on Thanksgiving Day 1789. . . .

A Closing Prayer by the Ḥazzan, by Gershom Seixas (K.K. Shearith Israel, 1789)

A ḥatimah (closing) prayer delivered by Ḥazzan Gershom Seixas at a special Thanksgiving Day service by K.K. Shearith Israel in 1789. . . .

God’s Goodness — the Testament of America, for Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Milton Steinberg (1945)

“God’s Goodness — the Testament of America” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg appears on pages 559-560 of The Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) as part of a service for Thanksgiving Day. It is the last of four “testaments,” the other three being the testament of Nature, Man, and Israel, respectively. . . .

God’s Goodness — the Testament of Nature, for Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Milton Steinberg (1945)

“God’s Goodness — the Testament of Nature” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg appears on pages 553-556 of The Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) as part of a service for Thanksgiving Day. It is the last of four “testaments,” the other three being the testament of Man, Israel, and America respectively. . . .

God’s Goodness — the Testament of Man, for Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Milton Steinberg (1945)

“God’s Goodness — the Testament of Man” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg appears on pages 556-557 of The Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) as part of a service for Thanksgiving Day. It is the last of four “testaments,” the other three being the testament of Nature, Israel, and America respectively. . . .

God’s Goodness — the Testament of [Am] Yisrael, for Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Milton Steinberg (1945)

“God’s Goodness — the Testament of Israel” by Rabbi Milton Steinberg appears on page 558 of The Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) as part of a service for Thanksgiving Day. It is the last of four “testaments,” the other three being the testament of Nature, Man, and America respectively. . . .

עַל הַנִּסִּים בִּימֵי הוֹדָיָה לְאֻמִּיִּים | Al Hanissim prayer for thanksgiving on all Secular/National Days of Gratitude, by Aharon Varady

Opportunities to express gratitude on secular, nationalist days of thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma — not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I’ve inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on secular/national days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .

על הניסים | Tanksgiv All the Boona, an al hanissim prayer of thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

With this in mind, I want to invite all Jews in North America that celebrate the secular/national holiday of Thanksgiving to consider what might be a thoughtful prayer on this day. For the few hundred years that our people have been here, as refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and as immigrants simply seeking better fortunes in a safer land, this Land has been a sanctuary. At the same time, even through the storied travails of our immediate ancestors, we cannot ignore the suffering endured by the indigenous peoples of this land who, first by devastating plague, and later through intentional acts of dispossession were murdered, massacred, forcibly displaced, and assimilated (forbidden to speak their language, separated from their families, made ignorant of their traditions) — experiences that must resonate with our own historical experience in the Diaspora. It seems immoral and obscene to me to be thankful without also being mindful of this complexity — how the fruits we enjoy in this Land have a rotten and dramatic history that we, now as residents of this continent, must at least consider in our prayers of thanksgiving. . . .

תפילה למען תושבי/ות אל-עראקיב | A Thanksgiving Day Prayer for the Residents of Al-Araqeeb (قرية العراقيب), by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

How is it that El-Arakib sits alone and desolate, like a widow a seventh time? “The Daughter of Zion has lost her glory.” (Lamentations 1:6) For, while we had dreamed that our state would “Ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender,” (Israeli Declaration of Independence) our prayers have not yet been fulfilled. . . .

תפילה ליום הודו על חנוכּה | Prayer on Thanksgivukah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May the next Thanksgivukkah be a time of health and abundance for all of you who will receive the world from our hands. May we together find away to make sure that there is health and wealth and beauty not just for our family, not just for the Jewish people and humanity, but for all living creatures who share this planet with us. May the One bless us with the power and wisdom to birth a society that shows love to the world around us, that lives with love towards all beings. . . .


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