September 30, 2012, - 4:47 pm
Tonight at sundown, the Jewish holiday of Sukkot begins (and ends next week–it lasts seven days, and then there are a couple of one-day holidays tacked on after the end). I’ll be posting one or two ore things tonight and I have several newsworthy things I’ve written in advance, which will be posted during my absence on Monday and Tuesday. Per usual, it’s stuff you won’t read anywhere else. So stay tuned.
To my Jewish friends and readers, I wish you a “Chag Sukkot Kasher v’Sameach”–a Kosher and Happy Sukkot Holiday. For my gentile readers, here’s an explanation of the holiday:
Sukkot is one of my favorite Jewish holidays because it’s a cool fall, outdoorsy holiday. Here’s some information about Sukkot, from a previous post:
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 [and subject to the will of G-d and the weather conditions imposed by Him].
Various Versions of Sukkahs/Sukkot
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). My late father used to make his special drink for visiting kids, Vernor’s Ginger Ale, mixed with powdered Nestle’s quick and a generous splash of Rich’s Coffee Rich (sometimes he substituted Faygo Rock & Rye soda (we call it “pop” in Michigan) for the ginger ale).
It’s a very nature-oriented/camping-style holiday (for those who don’t necessarily like to camp) mixed with hospitality, friends, and family: at night, you have to be able to see the stars through the leaves and branches that compose the roof. And many of the traditional decorations are gourds and colored, dried corn. And you are supposed to welcome people to your sukkah.
I miss the Sukkah my father constructed and 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 my dad affixed to cover 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. And we had other patriotic American stuff. There was cool American kitsch, too, with holiday cards featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Donald and Daisy Duck wishing recipients (and sukkah visitors) a Happy Jewish New Year, etc.
Friends of mine invited me for meals in their Sukkot for the next few days. And I’m looking forward to it. Their sukkah is very cool. It has cool tropical decorations, including palm trees and pink flamingos. Another set of friends whose sukkah I’ll visit has a magnificent chandelier, and their Sukkah looks like a fancy palace, with white and gold adornments on the walls and chairs.
In the meantime, stay tuned to my new posts later today, and in my absence the next two days. Y’all come back now, ya hear!
Tags: Jewish Holidays, Jews, Judaism, Succah, Succos, Succot, Sukkah, Sukkos, Sukkot, Tabernacles