Judaism is deeply rooted in the concept of thankfulness; the idea of gratitude is one of Judaism's central themes.
In fact, the word Jews in Hebrew is "Yehudim," a name derived from the name Yehudah (Judah) that comes from the root word for thankfulness.
Every morning observant Jews say the following prayer: "Modeh ani lfanecha melech chai vkayam sh chechezarta bee nishmati.... I give thanks to you enduring king (spirit) for returning my soul to me..." it is a lovely prayer that has been set to music and is sung in Jewish schools throughout the world.
Judaism has a prayer or blessing for the simple act and the sacred act. There are special prayers for wine, bread, fruit, non-fruit items, washing hands, lighting candles, after meals and many, many more.
The Shechiyanu prayer, with which many of us are familiar, gives thanks for being alive and reaching the present moment. It too has been set to music and we sing it with feelings of gratitude on many special occasions.
The Torah and Haftarah (stories from the prophets) blessings are words of appreciation. They are expressions of gratitude for receiving the words of the Torah and Haftarah.
Thankfulness is an approach of staying in the moment, appreciating what one has. When we are thankful we do not fret about what happened in the past, nor do we worry about the future. We relish what we have, here and now.
Hopefully we all will attempt to cultivate an ongoing sense of gratitude, not only during the holiday of Thanksgiving, but as repeatedly as possible. Thankfulness is a basic tenet of Judaism and a coping mechanism for the challenges of life. ~Dori