Wellesley Hillel Invites All to Join in the Spirit of This Jewish Holiday of Thanksgiving

September 23, 2013

This week, Wellesley’s Jewish community celebrates the holiday of Sukkot, and invites the entire College community to join in the spirit of thanksgiving, remembrance, and festivities that is the hallmark of this Jewish holiday.

The word sukkot means “booths,” referring to the temporary dwellings that provided sanctuary and shelter to the ancient Israelites when they wandered in the desert for 40 years. Sukkot commemorates that period of Jewish history by instructing Jews to build temporary shelters, called Sukkahs, in the spirit of the ancient dwellings. Jews abstain from work for the first two and last two days of the week-long festivities.

In addition to its historical significance, the fall holiday celebrates the harvest and, “because Sukkot is a harvest festival,” said Wellesley Hillel director Patti Sheinman, “we decorate the Sukkah with colorful paper chains, hanging fruits and vines, and other colorful objects.”

Together with Sheinman and David Bernat, who is the associate Hillel director and Jewish chaplain on campus, the Hillel students began decorating and celebrating in the Sukkah last week. The entire Wellesley College community is invited to the annual Hillel celebration in the Sukkah on Wednesday, September 25, at 12:30 p.m. on the Chapel Lawn. Jordan Hannink, Hillel co-president and Lisa Yagaloff, the Hillel representative on the Multifaith Council, will speak about the significance of the holiday. After this time, attendees will gather in the Sukkah for a delicious Middle Eastern lunch.

“We hope that everyone will come and feel welcome,” said Sheinman. “I love that the tradition of welcoming others to celebrate Sukkot has now become a Wellesley tradition! Every year when the grounds and building staff, whether rain or shine come and put up the Sukkah (in fact, one year there was a huge storm while they still were out on the Chapel Lawn putting it up), I feel blessed that we can celebrate this holiday together on campus.”