An invitation to celebrate Sukkot
Letter to the Editor | Friday, September 24, 2021
The Jewish Club is pleased to invite members of the Notre Dame community to celebrate Sukkot with us this weekend! Sukkot is a seven-day harvest festival in Judaism and marks the end of the agricultural year in the Land of Israel, the ancestral and religious home of the Jewish people. The holiday is a time of celebration and praise of G-d for a good harvest.
An important way families and Jewish communities celebrate Sukkot is to build a sukkah in their home or synagogue. The sukkah is a booth or hut, just like ones farmers would sleep under in the fields during the harvest. The actual sukkah is a flimsy structure with three sides and a roof made out of thatch or branches. The purpose of this sturdy, yet see-through roof is to allow for shade from the sun while also being able to observe the stars at night. The sukkah is also decorated with different ornaments and trinkets to create a special, comforting atmosphere. The goal is to spend as much time as possible under the sukkah, so meals will often be eaten under it. Keeping with the theme of the harvest, Jews will hold and shake plants from the Holy Land, including palm, myrtle, lulav (willow) and etrog (citron).
Theologically, the rabbis have compared the sukkah to the huts the Israelites lived in during the 40 years of wandering the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt. Sukkot is also considered one of the three great pilgrimage festivals on the Jewish calendar. The holiday occurs during the High Holy Days, a series of significant holidays in Judaism. In fact, Sukkot follows Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement” and most important Jewish holiday. Synagogues may also mark the occasion of Sukkot with special prayers and activities. Festival readings are read, such as Psalms of Praise. During the Hoshana prayers, in which we ask G-d to save us, Jews will march around the synagogue holding the lulav and etrog.
To celebrate Sukkot, the Jewish Club is happy to announce that a sukkah will be built on Bond Quad! The Jewish Club will be hosting two events this weekend to mark the occasion. On Friday, Sept. 24, from 6:30-7 p.m., the Jewish Club will host a special Shabbat celebration under the sukkah. The next day, on Saturday, Sept. 25, from 3-5 p.m., we’ll join with members of the Jewish faculty and their families to enjoy snacks and beverages in celebration of Sukkot. Both events will be on Bond Quad, but in case of rain, we’ll gather on Saturday in the Coleman-Morse first floor lounge.
All members of the Notre Dame community are invited to participate in this celebration, whether you’re Jewish or not Jewish. We hope this holiday allows for a time of reflection, peace and community-building between the variety of diverse groups who are all proud to call Notre Dame their home.
co-president, Jewish Club of Notre Dame
The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.