Sukkot is a joyful harvest holiday, marking both the end of the agricultural year in ancient Israel and our exodus from Egypt into the promised land. Celebrating sukkot typically revolves around the sukkah itself—a makeshift hut decorated with plant material (s'chach)—where we eat meals, socialize, and participate in the daily ritual of waving the lulav and etrog.
This year, Sukkot will be different. Communal meals and outdoor group activities will not be possible with social distancing requirements. But there are still plenty of opportunities to observe and honor the spirit of the holiday!
Sukkah Hop, Virtually!
Our Center City Kehillah is offering a "tour" of sukkot from across the city, with educational and social activities hosted at each one. Whether you want to sing, discuss social issues, or drink bourbon (really!), there's a virtual activity for you. Learn more and register here.
If you have little ones, there are a variety of children's activities, too. Check out jkidphilly's Dinner in the Sukkah for kids, or sign up to make an edible sukkah out of graham crackers and peanut butter.
Enjoy Sukkot Hospitality
Traditionally, we invite guests into our sukkah, including the spiritual presence of our ancestors, in a ritual called ushpizin. In that spirit, our Northeast Kehillah is arranging a program that allows families with a sukkah to "welcome" strangers virtually, via Zoom. Interested? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ushpizin.” This event will take place in the evening of Wednesday, October 7.
Get Into The Holiday Spirit
There are ways to honor and mark Sukkot beyond participating in traditional activities. You might read a book, like our Fox and the Flock children's story, or watch the hit Israeli film Usphizin, a holiday parable about a Jerusalem couple trying to have a child.
It's also customary to think of others and engage in acts of charity at this time. If you have isolated seniors in your life, you might give them a call them to discuss their parents and grandparents—welcoming the spirit of your own family's ushpizin. And, in the spirit of the harvest bounty, considering getting involved with our high holiday food drive—need is greater than ever this year.
However you celebrate, we hope you have a meaningful and joyous Sukkot. And, if you build a sukkah, be sure and tag us in the photos on social media! We love to see your creativity.