Way, way back in November of 2002, I went to the Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook to see the local unveiling of “America’s Table,” a Thanksgiving reader developed by the American Jewish Committee.
The 15-page reader was designed to help any family, Jewish or not, add meaning to their Thanksgiving meal by discussing the immigrant experience in America.
I quoted Rabbi Alfredo Borodowski afterward: “Before I came to this breakfast, I felt weird. Now I feel normal.”
It was a unifying experience. That was the idea.
The Westchester chapter of the AJC has continued to hold annual Thanksgiving breakfasts since then. I’ve been to most of them, so I can tell you that it’s refreshing to hear people of different faiths and backgrounds talk about their stories — which often have striking similarities — just before one of the most American of holidays.
It is a simple yet effective and moving experience.
You can download “America’s Table” here.
This year’s breakfast is tomorrow morning at Manhattanville College. I’ll be the speaker. I only get 10 minutes or so — so I shouldn’t slow things down too much.
I’ll talk a bit about what I’ve learned from covering many groups of people over the years.
This year’s breakfast will also honor three organizations: the Duchesne Center for Religion and Social Justice at Manhattanville; Westchester Youth Councils; and Neighbors Link. Congratulations to them.
The AJC, the Westchester Jewish Council and Manhattanville on putting on this year’s breakfast.