Saturday, June 15th 2024   |

High Holidays

Rav-Elations!: Succot Is Over…For Some

By RABBI DAVID GERBER

Succot is clearly defined by the Torah as a seven day observance. Following Succot is Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. When these occur, however, depends on where you are. Shemini Atzeret literally means “the eighth day of assembly.”

Some communities outside of Israel consider this the eighth day of Succot. This comes from the practice of diaspora communities adding an extra day to most holidays. Israeli...

Succot turns New York City into a playground for local Jews

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — On Monday, the Behfar family of Midwood hosted friends in their backyard, went out for ice cream and met up with friends again, this time for a barbecue and cocktails. On Tuesday, the family of six ventured to Staten Island, where they visited an arcade, a Lego store, a shooting range and a nearby Trader Joe’s.

The rest of the week will bring...

Israeli minister holds Succot prayer service in Saudi Arabia amid warming ties

By BEN SALES

(JTA) — Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi held a Succot prayer service in Riyadh on Tuesday, a sign of warming ties as Israel and Saudi Arabia move toward establishing diplomatic relations.

A video and photos of the Orthodox morning service on social media showed a small group of men engaging in the fall festival’s rituals: They held a procession with the lulav and etrog, a collection of four...

Flash floods put a dangerous damper on the first night of Succot in NYC

By BEN SALES

(New York Jewish Week via JTA) — Mark Vogel, who lives in Riverdale and runs a website about Jewish and kosher travel, spoke for many of his neighbors when he posted a video on Instagram of his succah being pounded by rain, standing forlornly in the middle of his flooded backyard.

“I built a Sukkah,” he wrote in a caption. “I should have built an ark.”

Vogel,...

In Chicago, a Black-led church and a Jewish community are addressing painful history through a Succot festival

By LINDSAY EANET

CHICAGO (JTA) — Earlier this month, 40 people gathered in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood to design a succah.

But they hadn’t come together only to build a hut for the upcoming Jewish festival of Succot, which begins on Friday evening and revolves around Jews erecting and dwelling in temporary structures for a week.

For this interfaith, intergenerational group, constructing the impermanent space was a step forward in what...

THE Festival

By RABBI JOSEPH H. PROUSER

Amid its many definitions and lengthy discussion of the word “the” and its usage, the Oxford English Dictionary states that the definite article may be “Used emphatically, in the sense of ‘the pre-eminent’, ‘the typical’, or ‘the only… worth mentioning’; as ‘Caesar was the general of Rome’, i.e. the general par excellence; the being often stressed in speech and printed in italics.”

Similar emphasis and...

OP-ED: Succot is a holiday of homecoming and homelessness

By RABBI JAMES PONET

(JTA) — What is home? The question sounds like it would best be answered by a children’s book on which each page proclaims a sweet tautology like, “Home is where you feel at home.” There would be a picture of the family nest, parents, grandparents, kids and a dog, a fire in the hearth and soup on the table. Home as Norman Rockwell painted it. Home...

Why most Asian Jews use imported etrogs on Succot even though their countries grow the fruit

By JORDAN HAIME

TAIPEI, Taiwan (JTA) — Rebecca Kanthor, a member of a progressive Jewish community in Shanghai, knows that she can easily order lulavs and etrogs in a few clicks online.

Kanthor, who belongs to Kehilat Shanghai, simply logs onto Taobao, China’s equivalent to Amazon. Etrogs, important components of a ritual for the Succot holiday, are known as xiang yuan (fragrant citrus, or citron) in Chinese. While American Jews...

If you’re trying to connect to God on Yom Kippur, here’s a prayer for you

By RABBI SHLOMO ZUCKIER

(JTA) — For those of us who don’t regularly think in theological terms, the High Holiday liturgy can be jarring to read. Some of the messages are relatively easy to relate to, like the reminder of human frailty in Unetaneh Tokef (“Who will live and who will die?”) or the expression of remorse over our shortcomings in the confession litany (“We have sinned; we have been disloyal…”). But the...

This Succot, Sarah Sassoon will celebrate in an Iraqi succah, with Czech candlesticks

By ORIT ARFA

For most Jews, a succah conjures a booth with canvas or wooden walls, and bamboo or some sort of foliage on top as schach. Growing up in Sydney, Sarah Sassoon, 42, had a very different experience. The succahs that her Iraqi-born father made were composed mostly of palm tree branches—both walls and schach.

That and other Iraqi-Jewish traditions can offer hints of what Judean practices...