Students at the Columbus Jewish Day School planned a joint celebration for Nov. 26 to celebrate Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah, which both fall on Thursday, Nov. 28, this year.
"It's a celebration of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah that is truly meaningful and thoughtful and involved the entire community," said Rachel Hillman, marketing director for CJDS.
Hillman said the CJDS staff sought out people from other nations who live in central Ohio and invited them to participate in a cultural exchange in New Albany.
People set to visit the school Nov. 26 included representatives of Ethiopia, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Morocco and Somalia.
Hillman said the event would combine a multitude of themes, including religious freedom, immigration and pilgrimages.
Thanksgiving was celebrated by pilgrims in the United States as early as 1621 to give thanks for a good harvest with a bountiful feast. Thanksgiving was set as a national holiday as the last Thursday of each November by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
Pilgrims came to the United States from England to be able to have religious freedom, Hillman said.
Hanukkah, often called the 'Feast of Dedication' is a celebration of the Jewish people's revolt against Greeks in the second century B.C. The Jews struggled against the Greeks, who disallowed the Jews to practice their religion, Hillman said.
She said the Jews took over a temple in Jerusalem and rededicated it to the Jewish faith, lighting a candle each day for eight days. Today's celebration still includes candle lighting, which will start this year on Thanksgiving, she said.
Hillman said this is the first time the two holidays have coincided since 1888. It will not happen again until 2070.
As part of the celebration, Hillman said the CJDS students collected items to be donated to some of the visiting groups.
First- and third-graders collected canned goods for the Ghana community. Second- and fifth-graders collected school supplies and fourth- and sixth-graders collected adult hats and gloves. Those donations will be given to members of the other communities, Hillman said.
Hillman said some of the communities did not request any donations.
The CJDS has 100 students in kindergarten to sixth grade who come from all over the Columbus area, including Bexley, Clintonville, Dublin, Grove City, Olentangy and New Albany, said Judy Miller, head of school.