As I enter into this new Jewish year, for the first time as a Jew….I am attempting to engage in it all as fully as possible. This aspiration is mitigated somewhat by my life circumstances; I am a working person with a new husband, a new blended family and a full life. Clearly becoming the Jew I want to be will take some planning. I wonder….is there a life coach for that?
I have been busying myself with family plans for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I have been deep into channeling my “Martha Stewart” energy, making cards for the New Year and planning how to get my blended family together for a sumptuous holiday feast. Yet I can’t shake my Sukkot ambitions, I want to do Sukkot right! I want to build sukkah. Although many Jewish organizations, synagogues and Jewish community centers in my area have community sukkahs, I want to engage fully in this mitzvot. After checking out the sukkah landscape locally, It appears that many orthodox families in my area engage in this aspect of the holiday while only a few in other denominations actually build their own sukkah.
The Festival of Sukkot aka The Feast of Tabernacles, aka Feast of Ingathering, is celebrated beginning on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishri . For those who may still have JCC, Jewish Calendar Confusion (myself included) that is Tuesday, October 14, 2008. Sukkot in Hebrew is called z’man simhateinu — the season of our joy. It Is a Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as a commemoration of the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai.
Check out these links for more information
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism http://www.uscj.org/sukkot5656.html
Union for Reformed Judaism http://urj.org/holidays/sukkot/
I must admit that prior to my consideration of conversion Sukkot always struck me as fun. I lived near a very large synagogue and their sukkah grew bigger and bigger and more elaborately decorated each year. It clearly appeared to me to be a happening, joyful place. I think I had sukkah envy.
Now I realize my desire to “do” Sukkot will take even more planning than I originally thought. At first it was a bit overwhelming so like everything in my Jewish journey I “goggled” it. As always I have been surprised and delighted by the results. There appears to be a vital commercial community of sukkot vendors. I even found a few used ones on a local Jewish bulletin board site. So now I am shopping for the best cheep, klutz proof, readymade sukkot I can find! Wish me luck I’ll need it!
The Sukkah Project http://www.sukkot.com/
The Seiger Sukkah http://www.siegersukkah.com/
How to build a Sukkah from scratch http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Sukkot/Overview_Sukkot_at_Home/Sukkah/Isaacs_Laws_339/Building_Sukkah.htm