In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
While Thanksgiving is not a Jewish holiday (there’s an argument among rabbis on whether Jews should even observe it—the majority say we can, since it’s a secular holiday), it’s a significant day here in the United States, even if that just means people eat a lot today. Which it often does.
But, there are a lot of other things that happen on Thanksgiving, too. Like families coming together, and cooking together, and seeing people they haven’t seen all year. So, enjoy whatever tradition you do, and, even though this is kind of trite by now, spend a few minutes thinking about what you’re thankful for. There are a lot of things that are wrong with the world, and this blog ends up being a place to write about a lot of them, but even though discussing issues is important, it’s also important to step back and think about the good that we have in our lives. Personally, I’m thankful for a lot of things, including the fact that unlike many people, I have an abundance of food sitting in my refrigerator today, waiting to be eaten. But even regarding this blog I have things to be thankful for. I’m thankful to be privileged enough to be able to write about gender issues instead of living through most of them. I’m also thankful to have family and friends that support me in all of my endeavors (even those that fail), especially this blog.
So, Happy Thanksgiving!
PS: This is somewhat unrelated to the rest of the post, but I wanted to put it out there anyways. Today is a holiday revolving mainly around food, turkey in particular, and many people believe that without the turkey, Thanksgiving could not be Thanksgiving. However, I wanted to take a cue from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals and say that we should choose what we want holidays to symbolize. Thanksgiving does not have to just be about turkey—we can create our own customs and personalize the holiday the way we want to. There is a cruel and harmful meat industry out there, one that is not necessarily the best thing to support on a holiday about giving thanks for the good in the world. Not having a turkey on Thanksgiving does not have to seem like something is being omitted—it can serve as a starting point for conversation, for talking about how we want to live our lives in a compassionate and caring way. Millions of turkeys do not have to be killed in order for us to enjoy Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving can be a day for creating personal customs, customs that are more aligned with what we believe and want to teach others. So, even if you’re not a vegetarian and not interested in becoming one, I’d say take time today to think about the food you’re eating, and talk to the people around your table it. Foer talks a lot about how we become attached to food because of the stories we attach to them; changing our eating habits does not have to get rid of these stories, but rather can serve as a chance to create new ones.