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Celebrating Sukkot: Harvest and Home

The holidays continue, with the fun and joy of Sukkot—a seven-day harvest festival that starts October. On Sukkot we thank God for our bounty and spend time in a sukkah to remember that our ancestors dwelt in booths while they wandered in the desert.

Even as we celebrate and give thanks, the Sukkah also reminds us of fragility and impermanence—concerns that have come into sharp relief during the pandemic. Ironically, while it feels particularly timely to celebrate bounty amid fragility, our longstanding tradition of building an Isaiah sukkah also turns out to be impermanent, as the need to physically distance ourselves makes it too risky to build a community sukkah this year.

But we will still celebrate Sukkot!

Perhaps this is the year to build a Sukkah in your yard for the first time, or to wave your own lulav and Etrog. And even without a Sukkah, there are many easy ways to enjoy Sukkot and mark this seven-day festival, which starts on Friday, October 2.

Lulav and Etrog:  If you would like to purchase a lulav and etrog, you can order one through the Israel Book Shop in Brookline ($50 with free pick-up at their store), at a number of online retailers (about $35 plus $20 to $25 in shipping) or on amazon.

Building a Sukkah: If you would like to make a sukkah, has a variety of kits. For a variety of other DIY options, see the plans, here

If you’re not up for building a Sukkah this year, you might try a table-top version, from Legos, origami, graham crackers or whatever else you’d like. Ideas available here, and here.

Other ways to celebrate Sukkot:

Attend services with us.

Shake up the lulav and etrog. Try using branches from native New England tree branches and a native or local fruit.

Make a paper lulav and etrog.

Go apple picking or to a farm or to a farmers market.

Make a centerpiece for your table with leaves, gourds, and such or decorate an area of your home or yard.

Cook or eat fall produce: apples, pears, squash, etc. Or make some Israeli dishes. One tradition is to eat stuffed foods, particularly vegetables, as symbols of harvest bounty. Recipes can be found here, or here

Eat outside.

Take a look at the wonderful harvest moon.

Harvest and shelter are the themes of this holiday. Donate to or volunteer at a food pantry or homeless organization. Find suggestions here, including making sandwiches at home for a local day program.

Find more ideas for celebrating Sukkot at home, here.

Watch a fun film explaining Sukkot with Legos.

Tue, September 29 2020 11 Tishrei 5781