Patriotic Manhattan synagogue has celebrated Thanksgiving since 1789

Patriotic Manhattan synagogue has celebrated Thanksgiving since 1789


A patriotic Upper West Side synagogue whose leaders fought with George Washington has been celebrating Thanksgiving since the first president proclaimed it a national holiday in 1789.

As a modern and secular holiday, Thanksgiving celebrations are rare in Jewish houses of worship — but that is not the case at Shearith Israel, America’s first Jewish congregation.

On Thanksgiving day, the temple will feature a special holiday-themed liturgy, followed by an address by Rabbi Meir Soloveichik and readings from a Torah adorned with Liberty Bells. An English prayer wishing good health and fortune on the president, vice president, governor, and other elected officials has been recited for two centuries. There’s no turkey at the morning gathering, but ample hot chocolate for parade watchers.

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