October 13, 2008, - 3:11 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
To my friends and readers:
Tonight at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins (and ends next week–it lasts seven days). Therefore, in observing it for the next two days, I will be out of blog commission, but I have some things I’ve written ahead of time to be posted in the next two days, including a blockbuster column on a very disturbing member of the McCain campaign–which has serious national security implications. Stay tuned for those. I’ll be back full-time, Wednesday Night.
A bit about the holiday: Sukkot (also called Sukkos, Succos, or Succot) is called Tabernacles in English. It is one of the three Jewish harvest festival holidays, and we commemorate the Jews’ temporary existence (and temporary dwellings), while wandering in the Sinai desert.
To do so, Jews build temporary huts (called “Sukkot” for plural) outside their homes. They decorate the Sukkah (singular of the word) and eat all meals there during the holiday. (My father used to sleep in it, too.) It is very fun for kids because they help decorate the sukkah, and also visit other Sukkot in the neighborhood, eating candy and other treats there, sort of like on Halloween (but no tricks or treats, and it’s way more spiritual).
It’s a very nature/outdoorsy holiday: At night, you have to be able to see the stars through the leaves that compose the roof. And many of the traditional decorations are gourds and colored, dried corn.
I will miss the Sukkah my father built every year and the many decorations he put up. As I’ve written before, my favorite was a giant laminated aerial photo of the Old City of Jerusalem with thick white tape covering up the mosque improperly and illegally built atop the Jewish Temple Mount. I also loved seeing the American and Israeli flags my dad put on the walls of our Sukkah.
Some friends of mine invited me for a meal in their Sukkah for dinner, tonight. And I can’t wait.
More on Sukkot here, here, and here.