Did you know that from October 10th to October 17th we get to celebrate Sukkot. Sukkot
is Hebrew for the festival of booths. It is also the new year for farmers because in Israel
and other warm places, it is the start of the planting season. In Iowa or New Hampshire though,
it is unlikely you can plant anything except house plants indoors.
Still even in the coldest places, Jews, put up booths, temporary houses with roofs covered in
grasses, leaves, and corn stalks. They put them up at their synagogues and sometimes at home. They
decorate their succot (Yes, that's the plural in Hebrew) with fruits, vegetables, and paper chains.
This page is a cyber succah. Look at the top and you will see all the fruits hanging down.
Inside the succah, we hold religious services, and we eat supper and sometimes lunch. Some people
even sleep in the succah though in Iowa or New Hampshire or any other cold place you need a very
warm down sleeping bag. Sleeping in the succah is like camping out.
Even if you just stay a little while in the succah, you eat in your coat and hat because it is
often very cold in there. That is OK. It is just like the school cafeteria, only the food is a lot
better and the meal is always festive and fun!
Of course there is a serious side to Sukkot too. There are religious serivces and adults and older
kids recite the blessing over the esrog and the lulav. Lulav is the Hebrew word
for myrtle branch. Lulavim are imported from Israel. An esrog is a fruit that is like
a lemon. Some people say it is actually a citron. It too is imported from Israel and is very expensive.
If you don't have enough money for an esrog, you can use a lemon instead.
Usually only wealthy people buy their own esrog and lulav but you can use the ones they
have at the synagogue. People are often very tired of services after Rosh HaShannah and Yom
Kippur. Building a succah or finding a place that has one is also a lot of work, still Sukkot is
a fun holiday and one you shouldn't ignore. By the way, no cyber succah will take the place of a real
life one even if it is very cold outside. Please go visit a succah at your synagogue or at a friend's house
if you don't have one of your own.
Haldis K. Guerrin
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