On the Sunday before Sukkot, on possibly the most beautiful sunny warm day this year, Temple Judea celebrated the holiday of Sukkot outdoors under an azure blue sky.
The celebration began in the sukkah, the temporary building that was again built this year in its annual location in the Temple’s beautiful Lipsey Gardens. It was decorated by young Temple Judea students, as well as some preschoolers who were meeting for their monthly “Bagels and Blox” experience.
Rabbi Todd Chizner explained the origins of the holiday as well as its custom of having meals in an open place “under the sky”. The holiday celebrates the gathering of the harvest. Beginning five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot is named after the booths or huts (sukkot in Hebrew) in which Jews customarily eat their meals in their own sukkot during this week-long celebration.
According to rabbinic tradition, these flimsy sukkot represent the huts in which the Israelites dwelt during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt. It is built with three sides. Its roof is to be partially covered with branches, with spaces between to allow the sky overhead to be seen..
After seeing and admiring the sukkah and its beautiful decorations, everyone assembled on the large patio for a barbecue hosted by the Temple’s Brotherhood, chaired by Stanley Goldklang, and WRJ Sisterhood, chaired by Phyllis Wininger. It was especially meaningful for the congregants and guests to see and greet each other “in person” after so many months of “virtual” services and meetings.
A guest speaker, Rivkah Halpern from JAFCO (Jewish Adoption & Family Care), addressed the congregation, explaining the goals of this organization whose purpose is to provide services to abused & neglected children and those with disabilities. Temple Judea’s Social Action Committee, chaired by Rita Marcus and Alicia Munves, has for several years supported this worthwhile organization.
Two days later, on Sukkot, Rabbi Chizner and Temple Judea hosted Rabbi Randy Sheinberg of Temple Tikvah, for a special Sukkot service. Both rabbis discussed the origins of the Sukkot customs and traditions with the many congregants of both temples in the Temple Judea sukkah.