First November NabloPoMo* post. Let's see how consistent I can be here (don't hold your breath).
I just read an article entitled America's Holy Haunted Houses, about how most synagogues empty out after the "Chagim" or High Holidays are over. The Jewish month in which we are now, called by its Babylonian name, "Heshvan," is sometimes called "Mar-Heshvan," 'mar' being another word for 'tipat mayim,' or a drop of water,because the prayer for rain is said on the last holiday in Tishrei called Shmini Atzeret--but it also means 'bitter,' some say because of the fact that this month contains no holidays, coming after the extremely holiday-laden and holy month of Tishrei.
But this, below, is not the case with my shul*, or any Orthodox shul, where people come to pray because they are observant, devout, and serious about Judaism as part of their everyday lives. They come to shul to daven, or pray, at least once a day (Judaism prescribes three times daily prayer), every day of the week, not only on Shabbat or holidays.
Halloween is most certainly no Jewish holiday; yet its spooky mood is curiously congruent with the ambience that overcomes American synagogues this time of year. With the termination of the hectic Fall holiday season, the large majority of synagogues across America, so recently overwhelmed with congregants, will once again take on the gloomy appearance of deserted, if not quite haunted, houses. And the sermons of thousands of rabbis will, as they have for well over a century, resound with the old perplexed plaint, "Where have all the Jews gone?"And Halloween doesn't isn't even a blip on the Jewish radar. Happy Mar-Heshvan, everybody, and may it rain a lot in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). And snow here; but not if I have to drive in it!
*shul: synagogue (Yiddish)
*Nablopomo: National Blog Posting Month. Just because.