October 25, 2021

Trunk-or-turkey helps people share a distant holiday

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Bella Gorelaya, left, looks at dishes Wednesday while Jo Schaffer talks with Carol Levine during a Thanksgiving pot luck outside Temple Brith Sholom in Cortland. Members of the temple, who planned on spending Thanksgiving without extended family because of the coronavirus pandemic, made and shared dishes instead.

Almost a month ago, trunk-or-treating, the act of giving out candy via the trunk of people’s cars, replaced trick-or-treating in municipalities across the state.

On Wednesday, members of Temple Brith Sholom in Cortland had a similar event, only with Thanksgiving dishes.

Members brought dishes they made and traveled from car trunk to car trunk taking other dishes.

“It’s just a nice way to let everybody know they’re thought of, that we love them, we miss them and to make Thanksgiving a little happier,” said Carol Levine, the president of Temple Brith Sholom.

The thinking behind the event was that most of the members were older and did not have family nearby they could travel to for Thanksgiving, she said. The event provided a safer alternative so members could enjoy a Thanksgiving meal from the safety of their own homes.

It also served as a nice way for members to see each other in person since the coronavirus pandemic has led to virtual-only services and holiday celebrations.

Ken Cohen took part because he got an invitation from Levine and wasn’t traveling for Thanksgiving.

“It’s just nice to see everybody in good spirits sharing and enjoying everyone’s company, even if it’s just in front of an open trunk in a parking lot,” he said with a laugh.

Cohen brought green beans because he thought he would be the only person bringing something healthy, he said, though others brought fruits and vegetables.

“It’s very interesting,” said congregant Arlene Dean. “It’s like our own little version of trick-or-treating.”

Dean brought pumpkin, blueberry and cranberry bread along with sweet potatoes.

She said it was nice to be a part of the food giving and to catch up with other congregants. Her kids live in California and New Mexico, so she wouldn’t be seeing them.

“This way we can taste a little bit of what we would have had had we been able to get together,” Jo Schaffer said.