We'll begin by discussing the concept of the "Pilgrimage Festival," the ancient Jewish custom of going up to Jerusalem for the three main agricultural festivals of the year: Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot. We'll discuss how our own contemporary understanding of those holidays retains an agricultural element, but also introduces quasi-historical ones as well.
In terms of our study of Sukkot, we'll have ample time to discuss what a sukkah (booth) is. Here's a picture of one:
We'll also discuss the lulav and etrog, which are waved during Sukkot. Here's what they look like:
Check out this quick video about buying a lulav and etrog:
Click here for detailed instructions on how to wave the lulav and etrog.
Hospitality is an important component of the holiday...centered around the tradition of ushpizin (of inviting guests into your sukkah). Ushpizin was also the title of a noted Israeli film a few years ago!
A question to think about this week: Building a sukkah is a very public expression of one's Jewishness. Could you imagine making that kind of public statement with your family - to your friends and neighbors? What are the unique challenges of being a Jew publicly (as opposed to privately) in America?