DIY this table centerpiece! Simply fill a cornucopia with fake (or real!) leaves, dreidels and gelt. You just made a Thanksgivukkah table look awfully good. (Mash photo by Olivia Godnik, Glenbrook North)

By Elani Kaufman
Lincoln Park
This year Thanksgiving and Hanukkah will converge to create one super holiday: Thanksgivukkah. This hasn’t happened since 1888, according to the Associated Press.

And it probably won’t happen again anytime soon. One calculation predicts it could happen in 2070, while another estimates it will be another 75,000 years. So either way, it will be a while. For many, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.

This hybrid holiday marks an overlap in the Jewish and secular calendars. Why don’t these winter holidays intersect more often? Well, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November while the Jewish calendar runs on a lunar-based system, so holiday dates shift every year.

Technically, Hanukkah starts the night before Thanksgiving this year—but let’s not take away any glory from this super holiday. “What’s better than turkey and dreidels? I have such an amazing time spending my holidays with my family and I can’t wait for this once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Highland Park junior Robby Cohn.

Other students are keeping their eyes on the prize: Thanksgivukkah food possibilities. “My family will gather like always, but we are going to merge traditional food with Thanksgiving food,” said Lincoln Park junior Liel Dorkarker. “I can’t wait to see how turkey and latkes turn out.”

Let’s not forget about dessert. “I’m going to try pumpkin-filled sufganiyot and for sure will be lighting my candles in a turkey-shaped menorah,” said Allison Rosenfeld, an educator-advisor for Chicago’s Jewish Student Connection.

Of course, both holidays are meant to be spent with family and friends. “My family always spends Thanksgiving at the bowling alley my aunt and uncle own, so it’ll be fun to have Thanksgiving with the room lit up with a bunch of menorahs,” said New Trier senior Esther Fishbein.

Whether you’re celebrating one holiday, both or neither, it’s always cool to say you witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event. Happy Thanksgivukkah, everyone!

* * * * *

2 1-lb. loaves challah
1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced onion
2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
8 sprigs thyme, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and finely chopped
3 cups chicken broth
Kosher salt
Ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut challah into one-inch cubes and place them on a cookie sheet.
2. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until bread is dry but not toasted. Set aside.
3. Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, melt butter over medium-low heat, then add onions and celery.
4. Add three teaspoons of salt and ground pepper to taste, and cook until onions are soft—about 8 minutes.
5. Add apples and herbs. Cook until apples are soft—about 5 minutes.
6. In a large bowl, combine challah cubes, cooked vegetables and chicken broth. Mix until the bread is saturated with liquid and everything is evenly mixed.
7. Press stuffing into a 9×13-inch baking dish and cover with foil.
8. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil, raise temperature to 450 degrees and cook stuffing uncovered for another 10-15 minutes. Cool 10 minutes, then serve.

Recipe by Christine Byrne, Tribune file photo

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The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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