No matter how you measure it, it’s been a long, dark, miserable winter.
If you like to define winter via the astrological method, winter for you lasted from December 21-March 19. If, on the other hand, you prefer the meteorological measurement of December 1-March 1 you would have started winter a little early but missed all the March snow squalls that bumped us up in the record books.
For this guy, both definitions of winter fall woefully short, especially given the length of this year’s snow season, which kicked off on the day before Thanksgiving and has lasted all the way up to, well, this morning, when a snow squall rolled through. As I reflected on my snowy Thanksgiving Eve, spent first in the company of friends, and then with a 28-pound turkey, I realized that winter for me actually began right then and there.
As I hopefully project the end of this non-stop winter, it’s worth noting that another fabulous turkey dinner (or two) lies just around the corner as we prepare for our Passover Seders this upcoming weekend. And yes, I assume that a majority of you will be having turkey at least once, if not twice, at your Seders, with brisket a distant 2nd and salmon bringing up the rear, and a winter that began with one delicious bird will (hopefully) end with another.
Judaism is, among other things, a religion in which measuring time is important; fixed times and exact measurements are par for the course. I’ve commented on that before and we are about to embark on perhaps our most famous countdown- the 7-week measurement of the omer from Passover to Shavuot. But after the winter of our discontent, I’m going to offer a new framework for defining winter, with a decidedly Jewish twist.
Cast aside your astrological and meteorological definitions. In Jewish Boston, winter begins on Thanksgiving and ends at Passover. Boom. Enough said.
It is by no means a perfect system, but I’ll go out on a limb and call it a useful bracketing of the season in New England when you generally need to bundle up and take shelter. And what makes it more fun is that given the non-fixed dates of both holidays, the length of Jewish Winter will be different from year to year.
Chag Sameach, eat well, and pray for warmer weather. ‘Cause even I’m sick of the snow.