This year is like no other that has come before and no other that will come again in our lifetime, because for the first time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will overlap. On November 28th the two holidays will occur on the same day for the first time ever, and for the last time in over 75,000 years. And out of the mouth of babes – our 9-year-old son’s mouth that is – came an idea which we thought was not only fun, but a great way to commemorate the occurrence and learn about the two holidays at the same time!
So what is a Menurkey?
The Menurkey is a menorah shaped like a turkey. An amazing conversation starter, an objet d’art, a functioning menorah and the perfect centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table, the Menurkey will fascinate for years to come. Think about it – this is the one and only time in history that Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will coincide. Statistical probabilities suggest that this event that will not happen again until the year 79811, if it happens again at all.
Hanukkah and Thanksgiving…huh?
The reason Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will overlap this year is because the Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years. Which is correct – the last time it would have happened is 1861. But Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863 (which is why it has never happened before). It may not happen again because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years. This means that while presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the years the calendar will drift forward, such that the earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The last time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146 (which happens to be a Monday). Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving. Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops all the way back to where it is now. So, Hanukkah will again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79811.
The Menurkey Backstory
The Menurkey was conceived, designed and named by 9-year-old Asher Weintraub, a fourth grader from New York City. He thought of the idea and the name when he learned of this strange calendar anomaly. He says one of the reasons he thought people might like to have a turkey menorah was because the holidays were similar – because in some way both commemorate being ‘thankful.’ Asher used Tinkercad, a 3D modeling platform, to make the first sketches of the prototype:
That’s when we asked for some help from our friends at Makerbot Studios. They printed out the prototype for us:
Next we found a great ceramic artist, Connie Smith of the Etsy shop doters(http://www.etsy.com/shop/doters). Using Asher’s design, Connie adapted our first prototypes for the Menurkey in plasticene, showing two different exterior textures:
Note: the photos above represent full working prototypes, and represent both the ceramic (textured) and plaster (smooth) finishes. Our latest prototypes reflect concerns that our hanukiyot would not be kosher, due to the fact that the candles on our early prototypes weren’t level (traditional Hannukah law requires that the Menorah have all the wicks on the same level, none higher or lower than the others). Of course, this being a menorah/turkey hybrid, the Menurkey fits squarely in the ‘modern’ menorot category, but we’ve tried hard to respect all Hanukkah traditions:
The Menurkey Team
Asher Weintraub (CEO, Creator and Designer)
Asher is an inventor and aspiring video game designer who also loves to read and play golf. He is entering the 4th grade this Fall.
Caroline Baron & Anthony Weintraub (Co-Presidents, Co-Parents)
Filmmakers and content creators by trade, Caroline and Anthony help facilitate Asher’s vision, assisting on such things as product and logo design, website creation and sales. They also make sure Asher gets to bed on time.
Emmanuel Weintraub (Vice-President, Chief Quality Control)
Emmanuel is Asher’s seven-year-old brother and is a stalwart supporter of Asher’s, providing a crucial second opinion on all things Menurkey. He can often be found playing with Asher on their WiiU.
Special thanks go to our extended families and our intrepid production head – ceramist Connie Smith (Etsy store - www.etsy.com/shop/doters). Thanks also goes to the amazing folks at Plaque Art Creations, Makerbot Studios, videographers Bliss Holloway, Hisham Abed, and Abner Willis, Stephen Jacobs and our friends in the Dirty Sock Funtime Band, Kendall Haney, Emma Thatcher, David Frank, Gary Kane, Heidi Packer, Craig Hatkoff, and Nancy Diamond.
The Menurkey Mission
What began as a way to encourage one of our son’s ideas has grown into a mission – whomever we tell about the Menurkey smiles and asks questions, and it’s a great way to discuss these two holidays in which we’re thankful for all we’ve been given. What better way to celebrate this strange but amazing occurrence with your family than with this funny and fascinating conversation starter?