Friday, October 17, 2008

Succot in Israel

So here we all are again; sitting in our succahs, waving our lulovs and etrogs; celebrating Succot.

Succot in Israel has been a lovely surprise. It was a holiday that, in England, never quite captured my imagination. Eating outside in a coat and dodging the rain could seem a little farcical at times.

In Israel it is wonderful to hear the ‘tap, tap, tap’ of succahs being erected all around us. It is great to mill around Succot fairs and see a range of lulovs, etrogs and succah decorations for sale. There is just a real momentum in the lead up to the holiday, that I never really felt in England.

Making aliyah is a process and settling in here takes time (and money). The first year we were here we didn’t have a succah and our neighbors kindly informed us every meal that they were invited out so that we could eat in theirs. Last year we put our brand new succah up but we had no table and chairs, so we ended up eating from a coffee table whilst sitting on cushions and bean bags.

This year we bought a table and chairs but had no light.. so I guess next year that is on the shopping list. In a way, this gradual process of getting ourselves set up for the holidays is synonymous with our establishment in Israel. It also means that each little purchase we make is very much appreciated. Not only this but it is the kind of thing that builds family memories - we can tell stories each year; ‘do you remember last year when we…. sat on the floor… ate by candlelight etc.’

I seem to have created our own family Succot tradition too. We dislike the ‘xmas’ style decorations sold here for succahs, so last year I decided to weave some palm leaves into a Star of David. This year I did the same. My daughter also colored in some lovely pictures and the baby also had some lovely scribble pictures on the wall. We added a poster of the Rebbe and our decorations were complete.

Having been a hot summer and Autumn so far, it actually rained on the first night of Succot; so we awoke to a damp and disheveled looking Succah. And there I was thinking how different Succot was over here..!

Sharona B