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Deerfield Beach Jewish Community Observing Sukkot

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Deerfield-News.com-Deerfield Beach,Fl-Deerfield Beach’s Jewish community observing Sukkot.

If it seems like this time of year is one long string of Jewish holidays, that’s because it is. It doesn’t end after the High Holidays—Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur—though those are still the most important holidays of the season and arguably of the entire year. Next up is Sukkot (the Hebrew-derived pronunciation in English is Sue-COAT).

What is Sukkot?

Sukkot is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and gives thanks for the fall harvest and also commemorates the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the desert and living in temporary shelters after leaving slavery in Egypt. A sukkah is a “booth” or “hut,” and sukkot is the plural form. The holiday also can be referred to by other names, such as the Festival of Booths, the Season of Our Rejoicing, and the Festival of the Ingathering.

The namesake and most iconic ritual of the holiday is the sukkah, built at home and/or at the synagogue or other communal space. The temporary booth or hut needs to have at least three walls (only one of which can be an existing wall), usually constructed with canvas, wood or metal. It’s covered with natural vegetation, like loose branches from trees or anything that grows out of the ground. They provide cover, but are meant to be sparse enough that you can see the stars through them.

According to tradition, Jews eat all their meals in the festively decorated sukkah during the weeklong festival, which often includes festive gatherings of family and friends. It’s a custom to extend hospitality during Sukkot, especially to the needy. A special prayer is added before meals in the sukkah: “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us through your mitzvot and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.”