Religious : : Religious Committee Report

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have passed. Don’t be sad; a fun holiday will now be celebrated together.

Succos begins exactly five days after Yom Kippur and is a very joyous holiday. It began well before the observance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The origins of Succos are found in an ancient autumnal harvest festival and is sometimes referred to as “Hag Ha-Asif, The Harvest Festival.”

Much of the ritual of the holiday revolves around rejoicing and thanking God for the completed harvest. The sukkah represents the huts that farmers would live in during the last hectic period of harvest before the coming of the winter rains. As is the case with other festivals whose origins may not have been Jewish, the Bible reinterpreted the festival to imbue it with a specific Jewish meaning. Thus, Succos came to commem- orate the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert after the revelation at Mount Sinai, with the huts representing the temporary shelters that the Israelites lived in during those 40 years.

In the times of the Holy Temples, Succos was also the time of the water-drawing ceremony, a wonderfully joyous and upbeat celebration. As with all festivals, services play an important role in the communal celebration of Succos. In addition to special festival readings, including Psalms of Praise (Hallel), on Succos additional prayers are included in the service asking God to save us (Hoshana).

We will be having virtual Succos Services each day of the holiday as shown on the calendar in the back of this Bulletin. Succos is referred to as zeman simchateynu, the “season of our joy” – please join us in its celebration.

On behalf of ourselves and the Religious Committee we wish each and every one of you a very happy, healthy, fruitful and safe new year. We look forward to seeing you at all our Sukkos services.

Chag Sameach,

Sandy Shapiro and Arnold Miller, Co-Chairs