Turkey and Latkes

By Barbara Jean Heller

 Hanukkah and Thanksgiving….. Turkey and Latkes. What a great combination.

Hanukkah will be on Thanksgiving this year, for the first time ever, and never again!

We will be celebrating the first night of Chanukah on Thanksgiving, so expect turkey and latkes on the table.

This is the only time it will ever happen, read below to see the explanation.

Hanukkah will be on Thanksgiving this year! Thanksgiving is set as the fourth Thursday in November, meaning the latest it can be is 11/28. 11/28 is also the earliest Hanukkah can be…….

The Jewish calendar repeats on a 19 year cycle, and Thanksgiving repeats on a 7 year cycle. You would  therefore expect them to coincide roughly every 19×7 = 133 years.  Looking back, this is approximately correct – the last time it would  have happened is 1861.

However, Thanksgiving was only formally established by President Lincoln in 1863. So, it has never happened  before.

Why won’t it ever happen again?

The reason is  because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with  the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years.

This means  that while presently Hanukkah can be as early as 11/28, over the  years the calendar will drift forward, such that the  earliest Hanukkah can be is 11/29. The next time Hanukkah falls on 11/28 is 2146, which is a Monday. Therefore, 2013 is the only time Hanukkah will ever overlap with Thanksgiving.

Of course, if the Jewish calendar is never modified in any way, then it will  slowly move forward through the Gregorian calendar, until it loops  all the way back to where it is now.

So, Chanukah would again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79,811. Given our trajectory with  global warming, it is fair to say humans won’t be here then. And if there are no humans, the holidays will be cancelled.

So, on November 28th 2013, enjoy your turkey and your latkes. It has never happened before, and it will  never happen  again.

 ©  2013  Barbara Jean Heller

 Editor’s Note:  Besides being my ex, Barbara Jean is a wonderful storyteller and a contributing author to the Mountain News.

 As for Chanukah on Thanksgiving, all I can say is “Wow.”

 Also, in case any readers are not familiar with “latkes,” they are potato pancakes.

Lastly, as for why the Jewish Festival of Lights has two spellings, Chanukah and Hannukah, I am reminded of Barbara’s oft-voiced commentary on these kinds of conundrums:  “Two Jews, three opinions!”

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One Response to Turkey and Latkes

  1. catalina says:

    Cute!

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