Celebrating Sukkot together

As Term 4 has begun, we find ourselves full of happiness and joy in our festival, v’samachta b’chagechah. Returning to school during Chol haMoed Sukkot (the interim ‘regular’ days of the chag) students have been experiencing and exploring the mitzvot (commandments) and minhagim (customs) of Sukkot and a look towards Simchat Torah this coming weekend. We hopped aboard the KDS bus to experience the minhag of visiting sukkot and enjoyed a special treat!
Discussions and activities centred on connecting with the humble beginnings of our recently freed ancestors. As they wandered the desert for forty years living in temporary hut-like shelters, sukkot, the Children of Israel were protected by the Clouds of Glory that surrounded them throughout their journey to the Promised Land. Along the way they merited to receive the Torah at Har Sinai, which we read in portions each week. This year long cycle concludes and then restarts on Simchat Torah amid much celebration, singing, flag waving and dancing. The experiential learners that we are, Jews around the world recreate these scenes yearly to connect with our heritage in a tangible way that leaves an indelible impression on our ever-developing Jewish identities.
Across the Junior school students considered varying aspects of the chagim, including the significance of the Sukkah as a place of sanctuary, how to fulfill the mitzvah of ‘dwelling’ in it, what structural constraints make a Sukkah kosher, or ‘fit’, and what brachot (blessings) are made this time of year. Each year level had a hands on experience bringing together Arba’at haMinim, The Four Species and waving them in all directions. The Torah instructs us to gather a lulav Palm), two aravot (Willow strands), three hadassim (Myrtles) and an etrog (citron), bless them and then shake them three times in each of the six directions: forward, right, backward, left, up and down, signifying that God’s presence is all around us. We learnt that each of the four represents a different type of Jew and that drawn together we are all individual elements of a whole, the Jewish community. Chag Sameach!
Please click here to see photos from our School Sukkah and Sukkah visit.
Louise Lowinger
Coordinator of Jewish Life & Learning K-5