The official “Thanksgiving” in Israel is Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. This Harvest Festival was giving to Israel by God Himself and includes seven days of rejoicing over God’s presence and His provision. Many believe that the pilgrims based their original Thanksgiving Feast on this biblical holiday.

But whereas Sukkot has come and gone this year, an “American style” Thanksgiving still has a place in Israel. Last year, 200 olim (immigrants) were treated to a traditional turkey dinner jointly hosted by Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN), Friends of the IDF (FIDF), and the Ministry of Absorption and Immigration.

Many families attended, as well as others who had moved to Israel on their own—including a few lone soldiers. Thanksgiving became the occasion for these immigrants to expand their family circle to include others who are adapting to a new place, a new way of life, a new identity as Israelis.

Thanksgiving might not come easy this year in Israel, given the most recent rash of violence there. The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear. And what is thanksgiving but one of the “roots” that sinks down deep to nourish love? Even so, it’s not the perfecting of human love that casts out fear. Please pray that God’s love will be perfected in the hearts of many Israelis through encountering the Messiah, Jesus. Pray that more and more will come to be thankful for salvation in Him.