On the heels of the Jewish High Holidays comes the holiday of Sukkot, a festival holiday in which Jewish people around the world celebrate the yearly harvest of the farmers. The week-long celebration is also recognized as a time to give thanks for things like food and shelter. The most widely known symbol of the holiday is a structure called a sukkah.
During the week of Sukkot, the students at Temple Beth Sholom’s Early Childhood Center and Religious School help decorate the sukkah in preparation for the daily gatherings with family and friends.
On humid Thursday evening September 23rd, with rain and flash flooding threatening, children and families from the Early Childhood Center gathered outdoors in the synagogue’s sukkah for “Pizza in the Hut.”
Families with young children ages 2-8 came together to sing songs with Temple Beth Sholom’s Cantor Ofer Barnoy, and to shake the traditional lulav and etrog with Educational Director Sharon Solomon and Early Childhood Center Director Jen Schiffer.
“In this time of COVID, as school leaders we are challenged to find creative ways to bring our families together safely. Sukkot not only gives us a reason to celebrate, our beautiful sukkah provides a perfect backdrop for a safe outdoor venue to gather, “ said Schiffer. The event also included an interactive arts and crafts activity in which the children were asked to fill a paper basket with cut-outs of fruits and vegetables associated with the fall harvest.
Presently, the Early Childhood Center does not allow parents to enter the early childhood center at any time during the school day. Children are dropped off and picked up outside of the building daily. This outdoor event allowed parents, many for the very first time, the opportunity to come to school with their child.
Barnoy, Solomon and Schiffer were joined by many of the school’s teachers, who also had the unique opportunity to interact with young families from the school separate and apart from the school day.
At the conclusion of the evening, Schiffer shared, “It was truly heart-warming to look out at the families in our community, enjoying a beautiful night under the stars together. Even behind the masks, I can see the smiles of parents and children alike. We are blessed beyond measure.”