This holiday of Sukkot is all about giving thanks for the autumn harvest and commemorating the 40 years Israelites spent wandering the desert after leaving slavery in Egypt. It lasts for eight days, ending with Shemini Atzeret and Simchas Torah. This year, the first night of the holiday coincided with the Sabbath.
Judaic Coordinator, Hagit, and the residents and guests welcomed the Sabbath and holiday, as always, with the lighting of the candles, followed by the Kiddush over the wine (grape juice) and the Hamotzi (blessing for the bread).
The tradition of building a sukkah, a temporary hut to dwell in during the holiday, was celebrated. The holiday customs include a lulav (palm frond or willow twigs) and etrog (citrus fruit) which are shaken daily in prayer throughout the festival as a ritual. Meals are eaten inside the sukkah for the entire 8 days and many choose to sleep there as well.
Viewing of a video about the holiday of Sukkot led to joyful singing of songs in Hebrew and English. It was a joyful Sabbath, highlighted by enthusiastically waving, smiling and calling out wishes of Chag Sameach! – happy holiday.