By: Rabbi Elli Cohn, Interim Global Communities Jewish Educator
and Danielle Trainis, Global Community Manager
Sukkot begins this year at sundown on Monday, 20 September and is celebrated through sundown on Monday, 27 September. Sukkot is a multi-faceted holiday that lasts a full week, giving us the opportunity to celebrate several aspects of this joyous festival.
On the one hand, Sukkot (plural form of the word Sukkah, meaning hut) is a celebration of the harvest. We express gratitude for the bountiful food we have received–and hopefully will continue to receive–in the coming year. On the other hand, Sukkot is a celebration of our collective memory. We learn in the Torah that the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching the land of Canaan. Where did they sleep on their journey? In sukkot, of course! During this week-long holiday, we pay homage to the Israelites by spending time in our very own desert huts.
This holiday also presents us with both a challenge and a blessing: the physical Sukkah that we dwell in during this holiday is intentionally designed to be unstable, flimsy, fragile. And yet, we are instructed to spend as much time as possible in these precarious structures! Why? The holiday of Sukkot, and the structures themselves, remind us of our vulnerability as human beings. Throughout life, we will find ourselves in situations where we have no control. The holiday of Sukkot blesses us with the opportunity to practice humility in the face of what we cannot control, and challenges us to nonetheless embody a disposition of trust and hope.
There are so many different ways to celebrate Sukkot. Below you will find program ideas that will hopefully help inspire you to have a meaningful, joyous holiday. Enjoy! (P.S.: Check out this video called the Lulav Shake that will make you want to get up and dance.)