Sukkot, the seven-day holiday commanded in the Torah to celebrate the harvest and commemorate the 40 years in the desert after the Jews escaped slavery in Egypt began on Sunday October 9th. On Sukkot, many Jewish people build a Sukkah in their yards which is a hut with a roof that is thatched or made of branches. It is important that while the roof provide shelter from the sun, it also allows you to see through to the stars at night. Many people eat their meals in the Sukkah during the holiday and some even sleep out in their Sukkah!
Several residents of JSDD joined together in the Sukkah at the WAE Center last week to celebrate the holiday. To begin, Todd led the Shehecheyanu prayer to celebrate all being in the Sukkah for the first time together. After the blessing, Todd shared that he loves this holiday, and he attended service at his local Chabad.
Hagit, JSDD’s Judaic Coordinator taught the group about Ushpizin which means “guests.” In reference to Sukkot, guests reference the founding fathers who visited the Israelites in their Sukkahs. The group discussed the significance of inviting guests to the Sukkah then discussing who they would invite. Rachel shared that she would invite Cynthia (her roommate that passed away), Todd shared that he would invite his mother, Kelly shared that she would invite her brother and Jay shared that the holiday makes him remember his childhood. They also talked about love and how lucky we are to be celebrating together and learned that it is a Mitzvah to eat in the Sukkah.
To continue the celebration, the weekly Shabbat celebration was held virtually but in each of the resident’s Sukkahs! Everyone was excited to see each other’s Sukkahs online and it was a lovely evening to enjoy the celebration outside! To begin, Stacy N, and Stacy C. said the blessings over the candles. Mark blessed the grape juice. Todd and Daniel performed the prayer over the challah.
After the prayers, the participants shared about their week. Todd shared how much he enjoyed visiting the Sukkah at the WAE Center. He also enjoyed his volunteer opportunities during the week. Rachel also enjoyed the program at the WAE Center. Stacy C. is looking forward to celebrating her birthday later this month. To close, Daniel shared that he feels blessed for all the love and support he is receiving from his family and the group home staff.