Sukkot: Festival of Pilgrimage, Endurance & Strength

A festival attendee of a timeless story and its modern significance.
A festival attendee of a timeless story and its modern significance.

On October 17, the Jewish Family Service Barbash Family Vital Support Center held a Sukkot luncheon. Attendees enjoyed a lunch prepared with the bounty of the harvest as well as a Sukkot program, which was led by Rabbinic Intern Ben Azriel. 


Azriel guided a lively discussion about hospitality, and shared why that was so important to the Jewish people during the time of our historical wandering. The thirteen attendees talked about what it means to open your home to family, friends, and even strangers at this time of year.


After the luncheon, the group accompanied Azriel to the Hebrew Union College (HUC) sukkah, where he recited the blessing and demonstrated the shaking of the lulav and etrog. Everyone was then given an opportunity to perform this mitzvah. These types of mutual exchanges, between JFS and HUC, exemplify why our partnership is unique. Not only can JFS work closely with HUC's Rabbinical students, like Azriel, but JFS clients can directly leverage many of the programs the college provides. Likewise, the school can benefit its students by offering the great opportunities available through JFS.


Sukkot reminds us of our ancient journey out of slavery, and of our ability to endure as a people. Sukkot (plural for sukkah) represent the huts our ancestors lived in when they were forced to make homes from whatever was available. The weeklong festival celebrates that long-ago experience by inspiring us to be thankful for the great outdoors and the environment. It is a fun, time-honored tradition for many families, congregations, and organizations, including JFS.