September 18, 2013, - 5:58 pm

Sukkot 2013: To My Friends & Readers . . .

By Debbie Schlussel

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 more things tonight, and I have several newsworthy things I’ve written in advance, which will be posted during my absence on Thursday and Friday. Per usual, it’s stuff you won’t read anywhere else. So stay tuned.


Various Versions of Sukkahs/Sukkot

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].

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.

More on Sukkot here, here, and here.

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!

See ya soon.

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13 Responses

Have a good Sukkot, Debbie.

And no matter what your dad used to mix in, I doubt it could hide the taste of Vernors – BLECCH

DS_ROCKS! on September 18, 2013 at 6:51 pm

If I’m not mistaken, there’s also a strong connection between the Sukkot and the wedding canopy or chuppah that forms a tent-like ceiling for the bride and groom. The Song of Songs refers to when it says: “The King has brought me into His chambers; we will be joyful and happy together.” In both the Sukkot and the Chuppah, those who “reside” under this shelter do so to become closer to the Creator.

Ralph Adamo on September 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm

Debbie, enjoy your holiday and stay safe sweety, and “Chag Sukkot Kasher v’ Sameach”!

“A nation is defined by its borders, language & culture!”

Sean R. on September 18, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Have a blessed holiday, Debbie and all others who celebrate.

RT on September 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Chag Sameach!

Not Ovenready on September 18, 2013 at 11:33 pm

You have yourself a very blessed Chag Sameach. Hope the weather out there stays good for the sukkah.

The Reverend Jacques on September 18, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Just a Gentile Fan, who is a continual reader of your column. First time Response. It is kind of ironic, that what should be a period of great happiness, and joy for the Jewish People, has been ruined for Malki Zirkind of Greenfield Pennsylvania.
Due to the old dangerous for the kids response, and bureaucrats, and Neighbors poking their nose where it does not belong; his Holiday is ruined. As a Gentile, I am embarrassed of the towns reaction. For further details, see Triblive.Com (Pittsburgh Newspaper).

Michael O'Malley on September 19, 2013 at 12:45 pm


worry01 on September 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm


Chag Sameach to you. Happy memories of your father too.

Panhandle on September 19, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Chag Sameach

Frankz on September 19, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Was this holiday celebrating in the past? I don’t remember photos of it until recently.

Matthew on September 19, 2013 at 11:04 pm


Matthew on September 19, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Always, Matthew. It’s Commanded in the Bible. Leviticus 23. In fact it’s one of the three pilgrimage feasts where were were commanded to go up to Jerusalem. It’s part of the Messianic prophecy in Zechariah 14 and in fact, when Messiah comes, the entire world is commanded to go up and worship in the rebuilt Temple under penalty of being cut off from God if they don’t. In some ways it’s the most important feast because it still has to be fulfilled prophetically and ties directly to Messiah.

    Bat Devorah (ha Nevia) on September 20, 2013 at 4:53 am

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