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Thanksgivukkah: A once-in-a-lifetime holiday

Written by Kim Lyons on .

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Image by Kim DeMarco for ModernTribe. Courtesy of Dana Reichman Gitell

 

She’s not trying to create a new holiday. She’s adamant this is not another Festivus. But the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving this year, which happened in 1888 and apparently won’t happen again for 78,000 years, so Pittsburgh native Dana Reichman Gitell thought the holiday convergence was worth marking.

Thus, “Thanksgivukkah” was born.

“I was driving to work and came up with the word, and I thought ‘this should be a Facebook page,’” she said. Gitell trademarked the word “Thanksgivukkah” and launched the concept on social media. It grew quickly, buoyed by an article in the Wall Street Journal, and a listicle on Buzzfeed. "We were adding 1,000 new Facebook fans a day at that point, so we knew it had caught on."
Gitell says she thinks a lot of people responded to the natural symmetry between the two holidays.

“Both are festivals of gratitude, so there are a lot of layers and a lot of things in common,” she said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the Jewish American experience and celebrate this country.”

Gitell, who lives in suburban Boston now, credits her childhood in Squirrel Hill with establishing her firm footing in Jewish religion and culture.

“I had an incredible childhood in one of the most vibrant Jewish communities in the country,” she said. “It was cool to be Jewish. Outside of Israel, where but in America could I have a childhood like that.”

Gitell and her sister-in-law worked with artist Kim DeMarco to come up with a Thanksgivukkah logo, and contacted Modern Tribe, an e-commerce website that sells “hip Jewish gifts” to see if there was interest in a Thanksgivukkah themed-items. 

Not only was Modern Tribe interested, demand for Thanksgivukkah t-shirts, cards and posters was so great that the shop is opening its first brick-and-mortar pop up store this weekend in Atlanta. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, a nonprofit charitable organization.

There’s even a Thanksgivukkah song, written by students at Gitell’s son’s Jewish day school in Norwood, Mass. The kids are scheduled to perform the song at Plimoth Plantation this week.

Gitell said her own Thanksgivukkah feast will include turkey and sweet potato latkes, while her sister-in-law Deborah Gitell plans a Thanksgivukkah festival in Los Angeles.

The overall response to the Thanksgivukkah celebration has been positive, Gitell added. “All of the Jewish organizations who have heard of it have had good things to say,” she said. “I think that’s because there is some depth to it, and some legitimate religious ties between the two holidays.”

She plans to celebrate the once-in-a-lifetime event, but will put it to rest after this year. “I felt in my heart like this was a love letter to America, and an opportunity for American Jews to celebrate both holidays and enjoy them together.”

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Dana Reichman Gitell models one of the Thanksgivukkah t-shirts.

 

 

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OK, Bill Peduto won. What should he do next?

Written by Mila Sanina on .

Congratulations, Pittsburgh, you have a new mayor!

Congratulations, Bill Peduto, it's you!

The Pittsburgh twittersphere has been such a buzzy place since yesterday because of it. Albeit the outcome was not at all surprising, it felt like Pittsburghers' ideas and hopes that have been in hiding during the Ravenstahl administration, got suddenly unleashed.

Bill Peduto's supporters went like this:

Smiley face

And said things like this:

And some were looking at their laptops and went like this:

grooving

And some others took it to a whole new level and welcomed him to the mayor's seat at his door, quite literally:

 

 There were a lot of congratulatory tweets sent to @billpeduto last night, but Pittsburghers were not limiting themselves to pleasantries. Messages like, "Congrats! Now get to work! And I have lots of ideas where you should start!" were aplenty.

Here are some of them:

They were those who reminded him of his promises made:

Some cautionary notes

And then there were suggestions for some specific and immediate change...

Also it looks like the Peduto magic has already started working, as noted by our own Heather Schmelzlen:

As for the future, Bill Peduto, please just make Pittsburgh even more awesome than it is...

...just like that, k? Thx.

awesome trick

 

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A very Pittsburgh Halloween

Written by Heather Schmelzlen on .

Need some last-minute Halloween costume inspiration? Take a cue from these folks, who are adding a little Pittsburgh spirit to the holiday.

Sports costumes are always popular because they're easy. Throw on a jersey and you're almost there. Bonus points for copying the facial hair of your favorite player.

 

If you're missing the rubber duck, don't worry -- you're likely to see some out tonight.

Post-Gazette classical music critic Liz Bloom even got in on the fun (yes, she wore this to the office today).

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Liz, visiting the former home of her muse. (Jacob Sanders/Post-Gazette)

 

But our favorite costumes this year are the ones you won't find in stores.

Callen Wallace of North Side was a hit with his tribute to Isaly's chipped-chopped ham. The getup even made it onto Reddit earlier this week, where someone called it "The greatest costume a Pittsburgher could wear."

hoohaham

(Matte Braidic/Faceburgh)

Fresher? Yes. Leaner? Sure. Hammier? Definitely.

But the winners of the first-ever Pittsblogh Halloween Costume Contest are these guys...

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(Photo courtesy of Gina Stiger)

Gina Stiger of North Hills sent in this photo of her two children, niece and nephew as the Pirates Pierogies. From left to right are Jada Davies, 6, as Jalapeno Hannah; Gianna Aguglia, 8, as Oliver Onion; Kaden Stiger, 5, as Sauerkraut Saul and Chase Aguglia, 7, as Cheese Chester. Gina said her mother, Diane Aguglia, made all of the costumes.

 

We think these costumes will be pretty hard to beat, but tell us -- what are you going as this year?

 

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Cultural Trust gets its own day for bringing Rubber Duck to Pittsburgh

Written by Pittsblogher on .

Whether you liked it or not, the Rubber Duck brought many-many visitors to Pittsburgh, young and old...

We had a lot of stories on the Rubber Duck (some would argue, waaaay too many), we had stories about how much joy it brought to Pittsburghers and people who came to see the giant duckzilla floating in the waters of Pittsburgh.

So....

"Whereas, over 100,000 people attended the Rubber Duck Bridge Party on September 27, 2013 to welcome the Rubber Duck to Pittsburgh, and,

Whereas over one million people visited the Rubber Duck during its stay from September 28 through October 20, 2013...."

... and so on and so forth (read all the reasons listed below)

...The Council of the City of Pittsburgh declared October 29th, 2013 to be Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Day!

provlamation

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This week & month at post-gazette.com

Written by Pittsblogher on .

TGIF! It’s a been a long-looong week for us on the web desk … with ups and downs in our web traffic for various reasons that have nothing to do with snow.

Because of the digital migration onto a new content management system, we didn’t have a chance to update Pittsblogh this week.

But since it’s the last Friday in October, here are some of the most read stories on post-gazette.com this month:

* Obituary: L.C. Greenwood / Big part of Steelers' Steel Curtain

* Giant rubber ducky quacking tonight in Pittsburgh

* Pierogi Fest gives Pittsburgh another way to say, 'We love you, dumpling!'

* Westinghouse drops Highmark; Aetna to handle all health insurance

* Tony Norman: Protection of giant duck goes overboard

One of our top stories from social media was from the Pop Noise blog: Sharon Needles joins Rocky Horror cast.

And our top video ...

We feel like there's a trend here, but we can't quite put our wing ... err, finger ... on it. Anyway, hope your weekend is just ducky!

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