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October 1, 2020
13 Tishrei 5781


Dear Friends,

Sukkot is upon us: the holiday of fragile structures, buzzing bees, aromatic etrogs, waving palms, meals eaten outdoors, and the reading of Ecclesiastes. It is a celebration of simply being alive amidst the uncertainty of a good harvest and a good year ahead. 

Sukkot is the holiday that enjoins us to celebrate the moment, to put ourselves in the now, all the while acknowledging how fragile that moment is. It also stresses the importance of inviting others into our fragile abode, whether they be our ancestors or our friends and neighbors. This year, the fragility truly resonates for all of us.

This year, Sukkot seems to come at the perfect time, in spite of the limitations of observing it as we usually do. Now more than ever, we, who live in a non-agricultural setting, have gained an understanding of how interdependent we are as human beings and how much we rely on one another for every kind of sustenance. This feeling is not a comfortable one. It must not have been comfortable for our ancestors either, as they brought their harvest offerings to the Temple in Jerusalem, especially in those years when the harvest was less than plentiful. And yet they celebrated. This, after all, is the holiday called the Chag, the festival.

After hearing the Unetaneh Tokef prayer numerous times over the High Holy Days, and with the knowledge of what could go wrong and what could go right in the year ahead drummed into us, why celebrate? Why is this a time of celebration, even in the midst of uncertainty, in the midst of a sense of fragility? It is a celebration because now we dance and are grateful for what we have. There is no time like the present to acknowledge what we have and to understand the work needed to create solid ground beneath us and for those around us.

In years past, a small group has come together to build our Sukkah -- our fragile temporary home -- and each year we would invite others to join us. This year, we ask a different question, who would you invite and why? Tell us so that we can share your thoughts with the rest of the community as we begin our celebration this Friday night and continue on Shabbat morning.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn

Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyyar 5781