Why is it that these two holidays are the pinnacle of the Jewish year, especially when there are so many exciting, and much more participatory experiences to be had in the yearly cycle of Jewish life?
Coming immediately after the High Holidays Sukkot continues the prime message of the 'Days of Awe', that the fragility of life should not lead to despair. The symbol of the ever-fragile sukkah, teaches us to see the importance of every day, every moment. Whether through natural disaster, health challenges or economic tribulation, life throws us some curves. The holiday of Sukkot is a yearly reminder of this truth.
Jewish tradition focuses so much energy and direction on the celebration of this eight-day holiday. According to Jewish law, the Sukkah structure we build during this festival must be fragile and impermanent. It must be able to collapse under a strong wind. Basically, the sukkah is built to be a metaphor for the fragility of life and human endeavors. Sukkot opens our eyes to the truth that even though we live in the shadow of death we can still truly live joyously, when we make the most of every possibility.
Once again this year we have several opportunities to take part in the mitzvot surrounding the holiday. Several upcoming services and all our student classes at Temple Beth Ami will be held in our 'Super-Sukkah' during the holiday. A Sukkot holiday guide is also available at the Temple.
Some of the events in the Sukkah this year include:
- Sunday night, Oct. 16th at 6:00 PM we will be kicking off our first Adult Social of the year at the Blazer Family Sukkah. This is our annual wine and cheese, and sometimes other drinks find their way into the mix. Go figure.
- Friday night, October 21st we will have Shabbat services in the sukkah. At the 8 pm service we will once again host a surprise visitor to our Sukkah. Previous visitors included 442nd Veteran/Medal of Honor Winner George Sakato, Tariq Altas from SCV Islamic Center, Rev. Lynn Jay, Rev. Ricky Hoyt and Pastor Marlon Saunders.
Join us this year at Temple Beth Ami for Simchat Torah, which comes at the end of Sukkot in what is always a raucous good time. We rejoice with the Torah with music, dance, food and drink Monday night, October 24th at 7:00 PM. Take part in unrolling the entire Torah scroll as we complete the yearly cycle of reading, and begin a new one. For those who are able to come early, we will be having pizza at 6:00 PM. This year, let's have as many people at Simchat Torah as we did for Rosh Hashanah. Why not, I can dream can't I?
Rabbi Mark Blazer