Chag Sameach – Celebrating Holidays of Gratitude
Part of the fun of this time of year is celebrating all the Jewish holidays. There are so many Fall holidays that these next couple weeks we’ll even be celebrating 3 more!
Sukkot (September 24-30)
Even more than other holidays, the values of Sukkot reflect so much of what camp is about. So much so that on this holiday, it is a mitzvah to sleep outside (in a Sukkah) where you can stargaze!
Sukkot is the agricultural holiday and Fall festival where we express gratitude for the Fall harvest. One way you can practice this at home is by singing the Birkat Hamazon around your dinner table (see attachment for our printable Beber Camp version).
Sukkot is also a holiday about inclusivity as guests are invited to be together in a Sukkah to spend quality time together eating, playing, and just simply enjoying one another’s company.
Finally, one of the most familiar symbols for Sukkot is the lulav, which we actually use in a celebration of differences. It is one of the 4 species (or arba minim, in Hebrew) along with the etrog (citron), hadas (myrtle), and aravah (willow) that we bring together and shake in each direction while reciting a blessing. This mitzvah is symbolic of the blessing that it is to bring together people of various backgrounds and celebrate what makes us each unique.
Shmini Atzeret (October 1) and Simchat Torah (October 2)
Shmini Atzeret can be thought of like the encore of Sukkot. When Sukkot ends, it’s one more day where we are encouraged to gather, be joyful and celebrate together. In America, this day is celebrated as a full day by itself, but in Israel it is combined with the celebration of Simchat Torah.
On Simchat Torah, we read the last portion of the Torah and then immediately begin the first portion of the Torah by scrolling it all the way back to the front and jumping right in. This immediate return to the beginning is representative of life cycles and relationships that are never-ending. It’s kind of like how when camp ends and then beginning the countdown to next summer right away!
We wish you a continued holiday season of abundant joy and gratitude!
The Beber Camp Full-Time team
Stefan, Becky, Joel, Michael, Abby, Alex, Marc, Elli, and Sarabeth