Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as the commemoration of the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of Tishrei and is marked by several distinct traditions. One tradition, which takes the commandment to “dwell in booths” literally, is to build a sukkah, a booth or hut. A sukkah is often erected by Jews during this festival, and it is common practice for some to eat and even live in these temporary dwellings during Sukkot. Learn more about this agrarian holiday in “A Sukkot Primer” by rabbinical student Barry Shainker.
This Sukkot, we’re asking you to share photos of your sukkah – or your congregation’s, or a friend’s, or even last year’s sukkah – with Reform Jews across the world. It’s easy: Just find us on Facebook, click “like,” then go ahead and post the photo directly to our wall. We’ll add them to our Sukkot Pinterest gallery to show them off!
Also in celebration of Sukkot, the Torah commands us, “On the first day you shall take the product of the goodly trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.” (Leviticus 23:40) Therefore, on Sukkot, we take up the lulav – willow, palm, and myrtle bound together – and the etrog, a citron found mostly in Israel. We bring both the lulav and the etrog into our sukkah, reciting a blessing while waving them in six directions, meant to signify God’s omnipresence. On our YouTube page, Rabbi Wendi Geffen of North Shore Hebrew Congregation in Glencoe, IL, shows us how to shake the lulav. Check it out and try it for yourself this Sukkot!