Enjoy Sukkot, Wherever You May Gather

By Nancy B. Greer

President & CEO
Is your sukkah ready?

This evening, Sukkot begins, a holiday for gathering with loved ones inside temporary huts whose open walls and doors signify a welcoming place of happiness.

Sukkot is an ancient holiday, but its rituals are layered with timely and relevant meanings. The huts represent the dwellings in which the Israelites lived during their 40 years in the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt. By one interpretation, bringing together the Four Species of Sukkot—the etrog, lulav, myrtle, and willow—symbolizes our people’s diversity and the importance of unity.

Sukkot’s origin as a fall harvest festival also reminds us that in this technological age, we still depend on the natural world for our sustenance and well-being. Even in the greater Seattle area, where we are surrounded by mountains, forests, and bountiful waters, Sukkot is an important nudge to appreciate the natural beauty that graces our lives. The purposeful gaps in a sukkah’s roof invite us to look up and marvel at the stars—as long as Seattle’s typical fall weather pattern holds off for a few days!

Perhaps the most poignant Sukkot meaning of all is that the holiday is known as the Season of Rejoicing. It’s a time for togetherness, prompting us to treasure the most important things in life—the company of our loved ones and our sense of community belonging. Putting aside our busy schedules to gather in a temporary, fragile sukkah is a symbolic reminder that time spent with family and friends is the best time of all, a gift beyond measure.

My colleagues and I at your Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle wish you a joyful and memorable Sukkot, wherever you may gather.