Sunday, November 10, 2013

You say Thanksgivukkah, I say Chanksgiving

This year, for the first time since 1888, Thanksgiving will overlap with the first day of Hanukkah, and I for one am excited to smother latkes with cranberry sauce. But even as I scour the Internet for pilgrim-themed dreidels and a turkey-shaped menorah (You’re welcome, Etsy shop owners), I’m feeling kinda sad.

According to, the happy convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving will not likely occur again for another 77,798 years. And since kale and Botox will only take me so far, I doubt I’ll be around to celebrate this ever again.

How to fill the void left by the fleeting Thanukkah? I propose we alter the Jewish and Gregorian calendars every few years to pair other holidays, and I know just the ones to link. The following are some suggestions that I think would go together like gelt and gravy:

New Year’s Day and Yom Kippur: On which holiday do you wake up feeling awful and repentant about recent indiscretions, resolving to change your behavior from here on out?

Exactly, both!

Imagine reciting Kol Nidrei to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” Or popping a few corks with your pre-fast meal. And how much more interesting would the Amidah be if it were recited on a Rose Parade float?

Mother’s Day and Pesach: An interminable, bland and overpriced meal in which you rehash a litany of past misdeeds suffered at the hands of a tyrant. Does this describe: (a) Mother’s Day brunch or (b) the first night of Pesach? If you answered both, you are correct!

Why is this brunch different than all others? Because it features poached eggs on matzah and chametz-free mimosas. Dayenu!

Earth Day and Simchat Torah: You might think that the perfect fit for Earth Day would be Tu B’Shevat, the birthday of the trees. But I submit to you that nothing celebrates recycling like a holiday in which we pat ourselves on the back for re-reading the same book over and over again.

Halloween and Purim: Whether you’re dressed as a ghost or trying to drown out Haman’s name, it’d be hard to say “Boo!” to Hallowpurimween.

Purim and Halloween already share in common costumes, sweets and visits to neighbors. And if you think Freddy Kruger is gruesome, check out the Book of Esther. There are impalings, random acts of murder and more blood than on the set of “Saw.” We all know that Haman was hanged from the gallows, but did you know that Haman’s 10 sons were also hanged? Imagine the lawn decorations!

Even if blood and gore aren’t your thing, you have to admit that a hallowed out gourd would make a dandy mishloach manot basket.

Candy-corn filled hamentashen, anyone?

Arbor Day and Shmini Atzeret: Nobody knows what either of these are, what they celebrate or when they occur. A match made in Heaven. Or in Congress.

Valentine’s Day and Sukkot: If you want to impress your Valentine, forget the boxes of chocolates and fancy meals.

Instead, I suggest that nothing is more romantic than leading your lady into a cloth-walled bungalow you built yourself, serving her a meal replete with fertility symbols and inviting her to spend the night with you in under the stars.

If she demurs, remind her that G-d commands it. Your move, Cupid.

So while none of us will likely ever again experience the carb-ecstasy of a plate piled high with both latkes and cornbread stuffing, there are so many other opportunities for happy holiday mergers. Here’s hoping we get to celebrate a few of them, and until then…

Thappy Thanukkah!

*First published in Orange County Jewish Life in August, 2013

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