Thursday, November 19, 2015

Glatt Thanksgiving

The Brownist English Dissenters fled their homeland in the 16th and 17th Century to escape religious persecution by the Church of England, which worsens with the return of the Catholic Stuarts to the throne. Leyden in Holland welcomed the refugees, but the Puritans led a precarious economic existence in the Netherlands, whose people were deemed to be libertines by the strict Separatist adherents. The leaders furthered endangered the exiled community with Scottish intrigue and the English ambassador demanded the arrest of the Church elders.

Contracts were drawn up in London for the establishment of a Puritan colony in the New World. The Crown was happy to be rid of the malcontents and the Pilgrims were glad to be free of the immorality of the Old World.

In July of 162O two ships attempted to cross the Atlantic Ocean. My relative John Howland was washed overboard, but grabbed a topsail halyard and was hauled back aboard. Upon landing on the new shores the Pilgrim set up the puritanical Plymouth Colony to dominate the Massachusetts Bay for decades to come.

They were never known for their good times and the other day I was walking through Brooklyn's Hassidistan with a New England friend, who commented, "You know the Hassidic men dress like your Pilgrim ancestors. Weird black hats, beards, and short trousers."

"I hadn't thought of that, but you're right."

The Hassidim's attire dated back to noble fashion of 16th Century Poland.

"Maybe the Pilgrims were a lost tribe of Israel."

"I don't think so. The Puritans' prejudice against the Jews had been criticized by John Adams, the second president of the United States."

"Maybe, but you Pilgrims and Hassidim do look alike."

"In dress only."

"Fundamentalist too."

"Okay, we're Jews. The secret is out. Plymouth was the first Jewish Colony in the New World."

"No reason to get all hot about it."

"You're right. That was a long time ago." I didn't mention that one of our people had been executed by the English for his religious beliefs, mostly because I have none and it was getting ever closer to Thanksgiving, when all the Pilgrims thanked the Native Tribes for saving them that first winter of 1621.

And Turkey is always Glatt Kosher, but rabbits never.

No comments: