The Festival of Sukkot

Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “shelters” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of
giving thanks for the bounty of the fall produce, which farmers would harvest day after
day, while dwelling in huts deep into their fields, away from the comforts of home.
Sukkot also commemorates the 40 years of Jewish wandering in the desert, during
which they were protected by the welcome shelter of clouds, and some say of God’s
Clouds of Glory. During Sukkot, it is a mitzvah for Jews erect a sukkah (single of sukkot)
that has walls but is wide open, and that is firm enough to provide refuge from the
elements but flimsy enough to remind us that permanence is but an illusion. We then eat
and even sleep in the sukkah for the duration of the seven-day holiday. And finally, we
entertain as many different guests (or “ushpizin” in Yiddish) in our sukkah as we can, all
the while treating them as family (or even better)!

Taken together the themes and observances of Sukkot come to remind us that all of us
are sojourners in life and on this earth, that none but God owns any of the land and its
bounty, and that the land is not ours to hoard or wall off from other people. Rather we
are called to create permeable spaces in which we treat one another with the highest
respect, dignity and graciousness, in full appreciation that we are all equal and all
different and all precious.

The entire Georgetown community is warmly invited to join us for any or all of the
programs taking place in our sukkah Oct. 4 – Oct. 10. And all are especially encouraged to take few minutes out of your busy week to go on your own to experience what it’s like to sit quietly in the sukkah and to reflect on the meditation on the posters placed in and around it. And you are always welcome to have a picnic lunch, breakfast or dinner there with friends. (Casual dress is just fine! Come as you are, because we love you. Just as you are.)

Full Schedule of Sukkot Events

EVENT 1: SOLIDARITY and CELEBRATION: Decorate the Sukkah!
Wednesday, October 4th, 4 – 5 PM
Come show solidarity and celebrate with the Jewish community as we decorate our
sukkah on October 4 th . Swing by the sukkah on Healy lawn for a few minutes on
October 4 th at any time between 4 – 5 PM to sanctify our space with your presence and
by hanging a decoration (provided); you are then welcome to stay or return for refreshments during our open house in the sukkah between 5 – 7 PM. As you add your
presence and decoration, you help us sanctify this sukkah as a refuge, a sanctuary, a
sacred space free of bias, strife, division and exclusion and filled instead with affirmation,
love, unity and inclusion.

Wednesday, October 4, 5 – 7 PM
Enjoy DELICIOUS refreshments and schmoozing in the sukkah, option to stay for the
Sukkot ma’ariv service 6:30 – 7 PM.

EVENT 3: CHAPLAINS’ TEA and CRUMPETS with the Center for Jewish Civilization
Tuesday, October 10, 3 – 3:50 PM followed by Prayer for Peace and Justice

Tuesday, October 10, 4 – 5 PM
Every year, the Georgetown Jewish community has one program in the sukkah that
addresses a pressing justice issue, or honors a community showing strength in the face
of injustice. This year, please join us as we affirm the strength, resilience, wisdom
and power of the UndocuHoya community in particular, and by extension all who are
unfairly facing uncertainty due to the U.S’s broken immigration system, the current state
of DACA, and the precariousness of current U.S. immigration policies.

EVENT 5: EAT and ENJOY with the JSA
Wednesday. October 11, noon – 1
Bring your lunch (brown bag, Leo’s or the Farmer’s Market), and eat it in our beautiful
sukkah as the holiday comes to a close.

We hope to see you at these events!

L’Shalom (Towards Peace),

Rabbi Rachel Gartner, Director of Jewish Life at Georgetown