Crossing Cultures: Happy Thanksgivukkah!

by Meredith Mullins on November 25, 2013

Menorah and turkey equation, crossing cultures of Hanukkuh and Thanksgiving by creating Thanksgivikkuh and the Menurkey

What happens when you cross a menorah and a turkey?
© Carly Hennigan/Thinkstock

Thanksgiving Meets Hanukkah

Once in a lifetime

The very words—once in a lifetime— stir the creative spirit.

An exceptional comet. The first moon landing. A rare transit of Venus across the face of the sun. A new millenium.

We are inspired to celebrate these rare moments and to capture them in some special way.

This year, this week, for the first time in recorded history since President Lincoln established Thanksgiving in 1863—and for the only time until around 77,000 years from now—Thanksgiving and Hanukkah fall on the same day. Crossing cultures in the best possible way.

Gobble tov. Happy Thanksgivukkah. Mazel turk.

Asher Weintraub with a menurkey, crossing cultures with a combination of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

Asher Weintraub celebrates two of his favorite holidays.
© The Menurkey Team

The Mind of an Inventor

This rare merging of the Gregorian and Hebrew lunar calendars planted a seed in the inventive mind of 10-year-old Asher Weintraub.

Asher was excited when his mom told him of this rare convergence of dates—two memorable days of thanks on November 28.

“Cool,” he said. “They’re two of my favorite holidays. There should be something to celebrate it.”

His Oh, I see moment brought him to a unique combination of the two traditions—the Hanukkah menorah, candles burning brightly, and the crispy warmth of a golden brown Thanksgiving turkey.

What was his weird and wonderful vision? Was it Turkorah? Turkanukkah? No, not quite right.

And then, with the sureness of a young Ogilvy (or Don Draper), Asher gave birth to the Menurkey.

(His father offered the name “menorkey” but Asher was not swayed. Menurkey had just the right poetic ring.)

A CAD model of the Menurkey, crossing cultures by combining Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

A CAD Model of the Menurkey
© The Menurkey Team

The Menurkey

The world is filled with creative and beautifully designed menorahs, but Asher’s concept is a unique commemoration of the once-in-a-lifetime event. A menorah shaped like a turkey.

His parents thought the Menurkey was a great idea. But dad and mom, Anthony and Caroline, also promote the philosophy of following through with ideas “because execution is such a big part of creating something.”

Anthony says, “Ideas have inherent power, but they’re really just ideas until you develop them and pursue them.”

Asher began to make sketches and turned to his skills with the 3D modeling program Tinkercad to create the prototypes. MakerBot Studios did the 3D printing. Then, the family found a ceramic artist, Connie Smith, to create the prototypes in plasticene.

“Asher gets passionate about a lot of things,” Anthony says. But this idea gained momentum fast. “There’s something about this hybridization of holidays—two celebrations of religious freedom—that captured people’s interest.”

Plaster Menurkey, crossing cultures with a combination of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

The plaster model of the Menurkey
© The Menurkey Team

A Kick Start

That interest went viral as the Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign attracted 820 backers in just 23 days. The Menurkey project raised $48,345 (nearly double the goal) to support initial production and marketing activities.

And now, 703 lucky Kickstarter backers have received the finished menurkey in time for Thanksgivukkah. And many more customers have ordered a menurkey from the www.menurkey.com or purchased one from the Jewish Museum in New York.

How many will the Menurkey Team produce?

“We really don’t have any set number,” says dad. “The short answer is we’re trying to produce as many as people want.”

Some of the proceeds will go to charity; some to Asher’s college fund; and some, if Asher has his way, will buy a 3D printer for more experimentation.

blue and white menurkey, crossing cultures with a combination of Thanksgiving and Hanukkuh

The limited-edition glazed Menurkey
© The Menurkey Team

The Menurkeys come in plain plaster (which can be painted as a Thanksgivukkah family project by one or more sets of creative hands) and in a limited-edition blue and white glazed version.

Add to that a song written just for the occasion by The Dirty Sock Funtime Band and an app where you can light your Menurkey from a distance and you’re ready for the full celebration of Thanksgivukkah.

Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
Come light the Menurkey
Once in a lifetime, the candles meet the turkey
Our favorite traditions finally meet
Stuffing and latkes oh what a treat

 Your place is at the table, come have a seat
Everyone is welcome, let’s light this bird and eat

 This is the first night, let’s shed a sweet light
Now introducing . . . the Menurkey

 

—From Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah (Introducing the Menurkey!) by The Dirty Sock Funtime Band

Shelves of white plaster Menurkeys, crossing cultures with Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

Menurkeymania supply and demand
© The Menurkey Team

The Future

As for Asher’s future, his proud grandmother Judith sums it up wisely as she prepares a dinner for 14 to celebrate the two holidays, with a limited edition Menurkey gracing the center of the table.

“He is now a 10-year-old New Yorker with an amazingly creative mind  so . . . who knows?  I hope he will continue to be innovative in whatever he decides to do.”

Dad adds, “I’m sure there is another product or two out there that’s worthy of the moniker ‘brought to you by the people who brought you the Menurkey.’”

Once menurkeymania dies down, who knows what comes next. Stay tuned.

And Happy Thanksgivukkah!

 

Photographs from the Menurkey website, Menurkey Kickstarter campaign, and Menurkey Facebook page.

Additional information VIA The Jewish Week and JewishBoston.com

Comment on this post below, or inspire insight with your own OIC Moment here.

 

 
Comments:

One thought on “Crossing Cultures: Happy Thanksgivukkah!

  1. From across the world may I wish you all peace and joy at this time of Thanksgivukkah.
    May you be in touch with those you love, and may you wish well to those you don’t so much.

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