The Sukkot HolidayEven as the weather begins to cool, Jerusalemites are moving out of doors. This is because the holiday of Sukkot has arrived, and with it, the custom of eating, celebrating and even sleeping in huts. A week long holiday, Sukkot is a joyous celebration that brings families and friends together.
What is Sukkot?
A “sukkah” is a hut that must have at least three walls. The ceiling must be made of plant materials--wood, palm leaves and bamboo are popular choices—and the stars must be clearly visible through it at night. It’s customary to decorate the sukkah with tinsel, posters and faux fruits.
During Sukkot, Orthodox Jewish men are obligated to eat every meal in the sukkah, and some even sleep in it at night. Consequently the holiday meals revolve around the sukkah, and people try to spend as much recreational time in it as possible. It is viewed as a home away from home.
Another important aspect of Sukkot are the lulav and etrog, plants which are ritually waved in all directions to signify the belief that God is everywhere.
Celebrating Sukkot in Jerusalem
Sukkot in the Holy City is incomparable experience. Nowhere else are there so many sukkahs in such close proximity to one another, and in so many different configurations. Some sukkahs are on porches, others on roofs, while still more are practically in the street.
During holiday meals, families can hear each other singing, each in their own sukkah, the melodies echoing and repeating throughout the city. There is perhaps no other holiday with such a strong sense of community in Jerusalem as Sukkot.
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