Make Thanksgiving a Jewish Holiday



Throughout America, firefighters and other emergency personnel regularly risk their lives for their communities. Their heroism is often unsung, but one Pennsylvania Jewish community annually repays their dedication with a true feast of gratitude.

Since 2001, our partner synagogue Kesher Israel (KI) Congregation in Harrisburg, PA, has found a wonderful way of celebrating Thanksgiving that highlights the Jewish value of demonstrating gratitude. In the wake of the attacks on 9-11, when we all saw the supreme sacrifice of the many responding firefighters, KI decided to provide a Thanksgiving feast for the men and women on duty at Harrisburg’s main fire station.

For this noble cause, local supermarkets willingly assisted the synagogue, and volunteers from all segments of the Jewish community participated. After the firefighters on duty are served, there are always ample leftovers for the second shift to enjoy. Year after year, this heartwarming event captures the attention of the local media (see links below).

The warmth generated by KI’s annual event is inspiring, and NJOP, which has been at the forefront of national campaigns, wished to share it with all of our partners. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than by following in Kesher Israel’s footsteps and offering our most sincere thanks to our first responders.

Rabbi Akiva Males of Kesher Israel is happy to talk to you and guide you through the process. He can be reached at or 717.238.0763.

NJOP will happily compile a list of those locations around the country that will perform this great act of chessed (kindness) and hakarat hatov (gratitude).