Cheshvan A month without any Jewish holy days. A month of hunkering down. And getting cozy.

Looking out my window I see the natural world around me preparing for winter. Squirrels burying their nuts in our veggie planters. The leaves turning and falling. The ground once again damp and squishy. Softening up for months of absorbing up our rain and snowfall. Another season has turned during pandemic times. We move through our days, stuck in the same places, while all other plants and creatures continue to grow and change as usual. Nature moves on. And now it is time to hunker down for the long fall and winter ahead.

We will not be gathering together in our building for services or celebrations this fall and winter. We are first and for most committed to the health and vitality of pie community members. We cannot risk spreading the disease to each other. We will continue to build community, friendship, and to nurture the spiritual and cultural lives of Jews in our areas through the power of Zoom and outdoor activities. We will continue to reach out and check in with our members. We will continue to be present in the lives of our members to add to your health, stability, and support system. Our doors are open even though the entryway is a text, phone call, or video conference. And if you want to meet in person-we are also open for masked, outdoor meetings. Walks, hikes, bike rides, kayaking...there are many ways for us to engage in person while enjoying the mild weather of the PNW. Many options are closed to us right now. But so many options are also open.

During this Jewish month, we have no Jewish holidays to celebrate. And this is a relief because transforming our synagogue into a digital platform is not easy work. My training is in working with a scroll. A real scroll with ancient words written on animal parchment. You need muscles to lift it and roll it. It is as far from digital as you can get. This month with no holidays is a much-needed break. And an opportunity to prepare for our next holiday: Hannukah.

So what can we do during this month of Cheshvan to celebrate Judaism and our Jewish lives without an actual holiday ahead of us?

How about a celebratory challenge for this entire dark and wet season? Below I will list 18 Jewish books and movies that are must-see and must-reads. Together the list is a celebration of Jewish literature and Jewish film. Through taking on this challenge you can, from the comfort of your own home, travel in time and space th