We often discuss the holiday season as to whether the holidays come early or late so this year they are “late.” Actually, according to the Jewish calendar they are right on time, as we are now just winding down a Jewish year which had a leap month – Adar 2 earlier in the year. As a result, the holidays do come later in relationship to the regular calendar, so it’s not such a “shonda” to say they are coming late. We need to put our Jewish holidays in perspective and understand that we look at two calendars in two different ways. So, if the holidays are “late,” how is it that they will come earlier in the following year? Simple, there’s no leap year coming up. The regular calendar (solar) has 365 days, the Jewish calendar (lunar) has 354 days. The Jewish calendar “catches up” with itself by having a series of leap years so that the holidays fall within their proper seasons. Pesach MUST fall in the spring, Sukkot in the fall. In contrast, the Islamic calendar which is also lunar and has 354 days, does not have a leap month so their big holiday season – Ramadan, keeps moving back in to whatever season it may fall into.
If we think of it spiritually, then we have some commonality with our Islamic brethren, and when they have their Ramadan holiday, we can appreciate their spirituality as they are observing it within the context of a similar calendaring system.
Once again the Beth El Choir strives to make our holidays as meaningful as possible through the spirit of Sacred Music. We learn something new to present to the congregation and we make every effort to rise to a higher level of spirituality each time