In the Jewish calendar, this November corresponds to the month Cheshvan, also known as Mar Cheshvan or bitter Cheshvan. This is because after the frenetic pace of Tishrei with Rosh haShanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah in rapid succession, Cheshvan is an entire month without holidays. Rather than being a bitter time, many of us nowadays probably welcome the respite!
While the Jewish calendar is on hiatus this month, November is rich with civic and civil observances: Election Day, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. While certainly not intended, this interspersal of Jewish and civil occasions allows us to reflect on our dual identities as Americans and Jews, each in turn.
Shalom, chaverim! See you in shul!