Gratitude and Action for a Just World: a Thanksgiving Guide

Reflections for the Thanksgiving table:

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude. We are grateful for all the good that we have experienced this year, from food to family to moments of joy. We are also grateful for the strength that has enabled us to confront profound challenges in our lives, our country and around the globe.

Thanksgiving echoes the Jewish value hakarat hatov—“recognition of the good.”

This year, let our gratitude propel us to action, as we work to build a better world.

  • Let’s share our resources with those suffering from poverty, hunger and disasters
  • Let’s raise our voices to counter hate, prejudice and violence
  • Let’s celebrate difference and unite around shared values
  • Let’s welcome the stranger and open our doors to refugees
  • Let’s defend the civil and human rights that are the pillars of our nation
  • Let’s create a world of justice, equality and dignity for all.

Begin your meal with a question:

  • What are you grateful for this year?
  • What have you done this year to live your values?
  • Which social justice issues drive you to action?
  • What’s one way you will commit to making change?

Create your own Thanksgiving ritual:

  • Write questions about gratitude and giving on slips of paper and place one on each plate.
  • Set an empty plate at your table for all those suffering from hunger this year—from people in need in your own community to the millions on the brink of famine in East Africa.
  • Open your door to welcome the stranger—embracing the Rohingya fleeing persecution in Burma and others seeking refuge around the world.
  • If there are children at your table, ask them to draw a picture, write a song, or put on a play showing what they’re grateful for.
  • Lead a discussion about an issue close to your heart and choose a concrete way to take action together. Need ideas? Visit our blog or take action.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of this guide.