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You know the joke about two Jews having three opinions? Sukkot is like that. It’s a little bit about remembering the huts we lived in while wandering in the desert after escaping slavery. It’s a little bit about recognizing and getting comfortable with the discomfort of imperma-nence. It’s a little bit about celebrating a bountiful harvest and the start of autumn.  Annnndddd it’s a little bit the reason why we celebrate Hanukkah for eight days. 

As this month of holidays comes to a close, Sukkot offers a chance to build a structure while at the same time recognizing our own vulnerability. We leave the comforts of our homes and cross the threshold of uncertainty. Our sukkah has at least three sides, with a wide enough door to welcome guests (in-person, metaphorically or on video). It has a roof made of natural materials that provide shade but let in the starlight. We take symbols of the harvest - tradi-tionally a lulav and etrog - and shake them all around as a way of inviting the Divine to sur-round us. 

By dwelling in uncertainty, we move from the High Holidays into the rest of the year joyful, reconnected to nature and ready for what comes next.

From Seeker Season Guidebook for the Curious & Courageous

Source :
Lego Sukkot Movie by BimBam

It’s a Lego® Sukkot stop motion animation and we couldn’t be more geeked out about it! Learn the basics of the Jewish holiday called Sukkot, including festival huts, lulavs, etrogs, foods, prayers and the spiritual meaning of all the unique rituals. This stop motion animation is a great intro to the holiday for Jews and non Jews alike – make it part of your holiday emails and party invitations, or show it to your kids to get them inspired about building their own sukkahs this year!

This piece was written and narrated by Evan Wolkenstein, a beloved BimBam contributor and teacher of  Tanach.



Wine Blessing
Source : Devon Spier

if you come close
and pay attention
if you go quietly
to where you have never been
you will hear voices from all directions

shma to listen
shma to hushed mouths

shma to the north
east west and south

evil is in the silences
then again so is g-d

but in the cry of the silenced
we find
what each of us speaking death
for Life
must go out now and do!

*the shma is a prayer that exhorts the Jewish People to listen*

Wine Blessing

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam,borei p’ri hagafen.
We bless You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.



Challah Blessing

בָּרוּךְ‭ ‬אַתָּה‭ ‬יְיָ‭ ‬אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ‭ ‬מֶֽלֶךְ‭ ‬הָעוֹלָם
‬הַמּֽוֹצִיא‭ ‬לֶֽחֶם‭ ‬מִן‭ ‬הָאָֽרֶץ

Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam, hamotzi lekhem min ha-aretz.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.

Challah Blessing
Source :
Kabocha Pumpkin Challah

Besides the occasional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I didn’t grow up eating a lot of pumpkin-flavored dishes. Instead, the women in my Japanese American family made stewed kabocha at this time of year. Whenever I see kabocha at the store, it takes me back to the delicious aroma of sweet kabocha stewed with soy sauce...

When I got to college and started cooking for myself, I tried my hand at the pumpkin soups, pies and baked goods I’d see in magazines at this time of year. Each time, I felt disappointed by the relatively mellow and mild flavor. Even the shade of orange was mellow and mild. 

This year, I decided to make a kabocha challah for fall Shabbat dinners. The color is beautifully vibrant and the flavor has more depth and is more complex (savory and sweet at the same time!) than that of its sugar pumpkin cousin. You’ll have extra puréed kabocha and can use it to make this kabocha soup.

Makes: 2 large challahs
Total Cooking time: 5 hours
Active Cooking time: 1.5 hours

Tools Needed:
Kitchen Aid Mixer with whisk and dough hook attachments*
Large mixing bowl
Food processor or immersion blender
Candy thermometer
Plastic wrap
Pastry scraper
Cookie sheet
Parchment paper
Small bowl
Small whisk
Pastry brush
*can be made without Kitchen Aid mixer

2 packages active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
1/3 cup white cane sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
6 egg yolks, at room temperature
2/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups kabocha squash puree
8 cups bread flour

Egg Wash:
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tablespoon water

3 tablespoons everything bagel mix
3 tablespoons white sesame seeds
3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Take 9 eggs out of the refrigerator. 

To make the kabocha purée, boil a big pot of water with a generous dash of salt. While the water is boiling, cut and seed the kabocha, removing the bottom and stem (if it has one). Cut it into about 2” squares and cut the green skin away, discarding it. Place the kabocha squares into the pot of boiling water and turn the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, checking with a fork to see if it’s finished cooking. It should be easily pierced through the middle without much resistance, but not fall apart. Purée in a food processor or with immersion blender. Reserve 2 cups for the challah.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, pour 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water into a large mixing bowl.
Using a candy thermometer, check to make sure it is about 110°F. Pour in the two packets of
dry yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar (from the 1/3 cup) into the bowl. Stir gently to dissolve
everything into the water. Set the bowl aside for 15 minutes. 

Your yeast mixture should look foamy at the end of the 15 minutes. If it does not, you need to get new yeast and start over or your challah will not rise. Better to find out now, rather than later!

Now that your yeast is activated, add the remaining lukewarm water to the bowl, then the
remainder of the sugar, egg, 6 egg yolks, honey, oil, salt and spices. Whisk on medium speed.

Once everything is evenly incorporated, add your kabocha puree and keep whisking.

Once the mixture is smooth, thick, and bright orange, change out your whisk for a dough hook. 

Add each cup of flour slowly on low speed. With a rubber spatula, scrape the bottom and sides
down with each addition. When you’re on the 7th or 8th cup, the dough will become too
thick for your mixer. At this point, you can start to knead with your hands. When you’re done,
the dough should be smooth and stretchy but not super sticky. If you need to, add a bit more
flour until you reach this consistency.

Oil the entire inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable oil. Place dough in this bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. I like to put my dough in my oven (but not turn it on).

After 1 hour, punch the dough back down to remove the air and let it rise again for another

After another hour, punch the dough down again and knead it into a smooth ball on a floured
countertop. Cut the ball in half with a pastry scraper. 

Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Beat the egg yolks and water in a small
bowl with a small whisk.

Now it’s time for braiding! There are many different ways to braid challah, and I prefer the look of the 4-strand braid because it’s simple but still looks impressive! I like to use Tori Avey’s 4-Strand Braided Challah tutorial.

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Using a pastry brush, generously apply egg wash to each of your challahs. Generously sprinkle them with everything bagel mix, black and white sesame seeds in sections (see photo). Alternatively, you can also just season it generously with everything bagel mix and let them rise for 30 more minutes. 

Bake challah for 40 minutes, but set your timer for 30 minutes. At this point, check on your
challah to see if it needs to be rotated. If it’s browning quite quickly, you may need to cover it
with foil for the remainder of the cooking time. Shabbat Shalom!




Each year, the first time we eat a fruit that only grows at a certain time of year, or when we do something for the first time in a while, we say a special blessing, the shehecheyanu, on this new experience. 

בָּרוּך אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וקְִיְמָּנוּ והְִגִיּעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Barukh ata adonai elohenu melekh ha-olam, she-hechiyanu, v’kiy'manu, v’higi'anu la-z’man ha-zeh

Blessed are You, the One who has kept us alive and sustained us so that we could reach this moment.

Source : Reform Judaism:
Blessings for Dwelling in the Sukkah

It is a mitzvah, a commandment to celebrate in the sukkah, including eating our meals there. We have several opportunities to bless this moment and make it special. 

Blessing for sitting in the sukkah

When eating or reciting kiddush in the sukkah, recite this blessing:

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu leisheiv basukkah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all: who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to dwell in the sukkah.

Blessings for the Lulav and Etrog

The lulav is a combination of date palm, willow and myrtle branches, held together by a woven palm branch. The etrog, or citron, is a lemon-like fruit with a wonderful citrus smell. When reciting the blessing over the lulav and etrog, shake them in six directions—north, south, east, west, up, and down. This action symbolizes that the Divine Presence can be found in all directions, not just in one particular place.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al n'tilat lulav.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to take up the lulav.

Shehechiyanu (blessing said when doing something for the first time)

And if it’s the first time you’re waving a lulav or sitting in the sukkah this year, you can recite a shehechiyanu marking this as a special occasion: 

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehechehyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higianu laz'man hazeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all who, has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

Source: Reform Judaism

Source :
Connecting to Nature

Art from Seeker Season: 2020 Guide for the Curious and Courageous by Jessica Tamar Deutsch 

Source :
Exercise Power From The Place of Spirit

This card from the Netivot Wisdom Oracle is the first published oracle deck based directly on the teachings of Kohenet: The Hebrew Priestess Institute.  This card, the  G’virah  – Queen/Matriarch/Warrior is from the Offerings suit. The Offerings are gifts the Divine offers us and offerings we may/are asked to give to the Divine.  Sometimes these are physical items and sometimes it is simply a way of being. This card is an invitation to:  exercise power from the place of spirit. 

Learn more about the Netivot Wisdom Oracle at



Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Dane Kuttler:

And G!d says: “After you are all wrung out from that amends making and accountability-having, go out into your backyard and build yourself a fort. And be sure to invite all your friends to join you in your backyard fort for food and merriment because that is how you make the community continue after all that hard work."

And G!d says: “And make your fort enclosed enough to feel cozy, but keep one side open, so that all who pass by know that they are welcome. Even the roof must be thin enough to invite the evening sky to dine with you, the openings in the branches that cover you wide enough for stars to fall through. There  are too many among us who are made unwelcome - not just in the inhospitable corners of the world, but in our own towns, our own neighborhoods, on our own blocks. You may even know their names. Invite them.”

Ritual for Sukkot

Find one person with whom you made repairs over the ten days. Invite them to your fort, if you made one - to your house, if you didn’t. Prepare a meal for them, with your own hands, in whatever form that takes - digging the potatoes yourself, or opening the box. Serve your guest. Offer them the best you have. Say: welcome. Say: thank you. Say: this is only the beginning. Celebrate the work of connection and repair. 

And G!d says: But nothing holds forever. The branches over your head will wither; grass under your feet will die of thirst and cold; you will unbolt these frames and fold the canvas walls. Even the bedrock beneath you holds molten memories of liquidity. Bottle the warmth of these cooling nights, of friends around the table, of candlelight, of wine, woodsmoke and holy tunes. You will need to drink from it soon enough.


From Dane Kuttler's The G!d Wrestlers,  The Social Justice Warrior's Guide to the High Holy Days, Sept. 2015

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Turn & Return Holiday Booklet

Ushpizin Blessing

Adonai, may You spread your sukkah of peace over our heads

Like an eagle protecting its nest

May our exalted guests [names of ushpizin] sit with us this night

And comfort us with their ancestral wisdom 

May we be blessed with their presence

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Moishe House Rocks
How to Build a Sukkah

Join Joshua Walters from Moishe House East Bay CA to learn the basics of building a Sukkah. This beat box video will have you ready to build your hut in no time.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : 18Doors
How to Celebrate Sukkot Without a Sukkah

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of us who might have been able to visit or even celebrate Sukkot with a meal in a sukkah in regular circumstances, may not be able to this year. The central symbol of the holiday of Sukkot is the sukkah, a temporary hut that is built outside to remind us of the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering in the wilderness, during which they dwelled in sukkahs.

So what can you do if you want to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot but you don’t have a sukkah to visit? 

Have a picnic—in your backyard.

So you can’t have a meal in a sukkah. Your backyard (or deck or local park) is still a great place to bring the family and enjoy a meal al fresco. Yes, it’s a bummer not to be under the sukkah, but isn’t a big part of the holiday cooking seasonal meals and enjoying them outside with loved ones? Even if all the people you’d like to invite to your picnic blanket can’t safely join you, this is the time to love the ones you’re with. And eating outside on a picnic blanket is fun for the kids, period.

Go stargazing.  

While Jewish law teaches that the vegetation covering the top of the sukkah needs to be thick enough so that the shade inside the sukkah is greater than the sunlight, we also learn that ideally we should be able to see the stars through the top of the sukkah. Assuming the weather is cooperating, you still have access to gazing at the stars. If you have kids, do this as a family. It can be as simple as going outside and looking up at the sky, and hopefully you’ll have the pleasure of seeing some stars.

Read the rest of this list at 18Doors.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Image by Nicolas Lampert
Water Is Life - No DAPL

This image is based on an original photograph by Ossie Michelin of Amanda Polchies – a Mi’kmaq land and water defender peacefully standing up to the shale gas company SWN and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada in 2013.

As we ritually wash our hands, we reflect on how vital water is. We think of the Water Protectors who have risked their lives to stand up for the basic right to their natural resources. And we think of all those across our nation - in places like Flint, MI - and around the world who do not have access to clean, safe water. 

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source :
Sukkot Shleimut with Wholeness and Peacefulness

Sukkot, the Jewish harvest holiday of the “huts,” is a week of celebration that starts five days after Yom Kippur. Rabbinic tradition tells us a Sukkah, or temporary structure with at least three sides and a roof of thatch or branches, represents the dwellings the Israelites built  and lived in during their 40 years of wandering in the desert.

At times, we may feel like we’re wandering in the desert, not knowing what will come next. But on Sukkot, we are commanded to find joy and holiness, despite the fear uncertainty brings. This year, many of us won’t have an opportunity to sit in a sukkah, or be able to attend synagogue in a traditional way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the holiday and use the teachings of Sukkot to strengthen our resilience and mental well-being.

Make Your Own Lulav and Etrog

On Sukkot, we shake one fruit and three species (palm, willow and myrtle branches) together, each representing something unique. We often refer to these four species as the lulav and etrog. According to Sefer ha'Chinuch (#285), each of the four relates to a particular body part that we can use to connect with the holy and with a value.

Using the printable pieces below (full sizes as image clip), you can create your own lulav and etrog. You also can simply use construction paper. Write your answers to the questions below on the corresponding pieces of the paper lulav and etrog you create. Feel free to decorate!

In Jewish Tradition:

  • Etrog refers to the heart and to both understanding and wisdom.

Take a moment to reflect on when you have acted compassionately this past year. Think of one action you are proud of and write it down. Now think of one time this year another person has treated you with understanding and kindness, and write that down as well.

  • Palm symbolizes the backbone and uprightness.

Take a moment to reflect on those moments in our lives when we have had to be steadfast and unbreaking even in the face of adversity. What has challenged you this year? When have you risen to that challenge? Write that down.

  • Myrtle corresponds to the eyes and enlightenment.

Take a moment to reflect and look inward. What is one thing you have learned this year, perhaps because of your heart and backbone experiences? Write it down.

  • Willow represents the lips and prayer.

Take this moment to set a Kavanah, or intention. Write down a prayer/wish/hope you have for the upcoming months. It can be for you, a loved one, or for the entire world. Say it outloud to yourself, or mouth it silently.

Now that you have your own unique lulav and etrog, let’s shake them!

Waving the lulav and etrog as part of WHOLENESS & PEACEFULNESS - שלימות - shleimut

Shleimut is a state of being in which you feel physically, mentally and spiritually harmonious. Mindfulness and meditation are skills we use to help us enter this peaceful state and learn to be present. In this way, shleimut can strengthen our mental wellness. The focus of both mindfulness and meditation is being present and engaged in what we are feeling in this moment. This year we encourage you to shake your homemade lulav and etrog slowly, deliberately and mindfully.

Shaking the lulav and etrog

DO - Start by facing east. Stand comfortably and take a few deep breaths.
THINK - Try to clear your mind by focusing on what it feels like to have your feet on the ground and to hold what you created. If thoughts enter your mind, that’s okay; acknowledge them, and bring your focus back to what it feels like to be in this moment.

DO - Hold the lulav out to the east (in front of you) and shake it three times. Each time, the motion of shaking should be drawing into you: Reach out and draw in, reach out and draw in, reach out and draw in. You can do this at any pace.
THINK - Consider the kavanah you chose above, the prayer/wish/hope you created. Repeat it to yourself out loud or in your head.

DO - Repeat the same motion of reaching out with the lulav and then drawing it in toward you three times to your right (south), three times behind you over your right shoulder (west), three times to your left (north), raising it upward three times, and lowering it downward three times.
THINK - With each motion, envision yourself bringing in what you most need in order to feel whole and supported.

We hope the teachings of Sukkot bring you Shleumut, wholeness and peacefulness, and that you have a happy and healthy holiday. Moadim L’simcha!

Source: Blue Dove Foundation

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Rachel Kann:

By Rachel Kann

Forgive me,
I have done it all wrong.
In every way that I hoped not to act,
I have failed.

Forgive me,
I love you beyond logic
Where the loudest blossoms shout yellow, pink.
Listen to the fragrance of bloom.
Inhale the whisper of nature.
My lips part for your kiss only.
You know my mouth’s deep intimacy.

This is my long-form farewell tour.
I am but a bank of buttons and knobs
Laid plain for you to press up against.

This is past chest-pounding,
This is specific,
Forgive me
For whispering in symbols while
I watch stars dance between palm fronds.


Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source :
Activity: "Welcome to Our Sukkah" Sign

Welcome to Our Sukkah Sign Making Activity
By Bringing Judaism Home

Activity for Ages 4 - 10

A family photo, some decorations, and a few words are all it takes to welcome friends and family to your sukkah. It's the personal touch that make this craft so adorable! You can also make these to send to friends or family members as a way of celebrating Sukkot together, even when we 're far away. 


Strong Background Material - wooden board or strong canvas board
Paint - color of your choice
Photo of your family
Fall-themed decorations (acorns, colorful wheat, leaves)
Glitter pen


1. Paint the board a rich fall color (e.g., green, orange, rust).
2. Wait for paint to dry.
3. Glue on a family photo along with your decorative element.
4. Using the glitter pen, add a "Welcome to our Sukkah" or a message of your choice to the board.
5. Display at the entrance to your Sukkah.

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source :
Sukkot Posters

This Sukkot, MAZON invites you to engage in the tradition of welcoming ushpizin by symbolically inviting just a few of the millions of Americans struggling with hunger to join you in your sukkah.

The holiday of Sukkot encourages us to welcome guests and celebrate the harvest. The kabbalists developed a ritual wherein each night of Sukkot a different exalted guest is invited to join us in the sukkah. These ushpizin (Aramaic for “guests”) were traditionally biblical ancestors such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In more recent years, various ushpizin have been invited into the sukkah as honored guests. These ushpizin remind us of our obligation to the poor and hungry in our community, as it is said that the ushpizin would refuse to enter a sukkah where the poor were not welcome.  

Print and display these posters in your congregational or personal sukkah. Each poster highlights a different person, each with a unique story, and features a question to spark meaningful conversation. Sharing these stories is the first step. After your sukkah conversation, we hope you will partner with MAZON to support the nutrition safety net which helps millions feed themselves and their families.Visit our site to download more:

Together, we can ensure that everyone has access to the bounty of our nation’s harvest.  

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source :
The Shrinekeeper

The Shrinekeeper
By Kohenet Bekah Starr


The ark holds all the sacred things. Smoke, representing Shekhinah, Divine presence, escapes to bless the world while surrounding and protecting all that is sacred. 

What do you hold sacred?

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source :

No Holiday From Justice - Why Social Action on Sukkot?

Sukkot celebrates the importance of providing for those who are the most vulnerable. After escaping Egypt, our ancestors wandered through the desert for forty years facing challenging circumstances, but were able to survive with God’s protection. Each year we build a sukkah to remind us of the kindness and protection God showed the Jews when they were most vulnerable.

As part of the Sukkot celebrations, we invite friends and family into our sukkah to enjoy a delicious meal. Traditionally, we are told to extend an invitation to the needy members of our community. Whether symbolically or more literally, Sukkot is the perfect time to share your hospitality and good fortune to help protect those who are truly in need.


  • Locate a soup kitchen or food pantry in your area that will accept fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Plan in advance to plant vegetables and fruit before Sukkot. Invite friends and family over for a gleaning party where together you can harvest your fresh produce and bring it to a local soup kitchen or food pantry. 
  • When you invite guests into your sukkah, ask them to bring fruits and vegetables that you can arrange in a basket together to bring to a soup kitchen or food pantry. 
  • Encourage your synagogue to share their harvest and make a commitment to continue supporting those who are food insecure throughout the coming year. 
Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Source : Photo Courtesy of the Aderman Alcorn Family
Kids in the Sukkah

Kids enjoy their sukkah

Sukkot & Simchat Torah
Sukkot & Simchat Torah

Blessing for seeing large-scale wonders of nature such as high mountains, vast deserts, seas, major rivers, shooting stars and the sunrise:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, oseh maasei v'reishit.

We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who makes the works of creation.

Blessing for seeing smaller wonders of nature such as beautiful trees, flowers and animals: 

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, shekacha lo be’olamo.

We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who has such beauty in Your world.



Source : At the Well
Sukkot Journal Questions

There is a time to plant and a time to reap. A time to work… a time to sit down and read your At The Well newsletter. Then, there’s a time to rejoice. All of these times, however, are short moments strung together on a long journey. Just think — last week, we were fasting and getting real with ourselves and our communities about the places we can be better. Now, we’re celebrating, resting, and loving each other to honor the Torah’s commandment that we will “dwell in booths (sukkahs) to remember our ancestors, freed from slavery.”

Sukkot, a harvest pilgrimage holiday, starts on the Full Moon of Tishrei. If we can learn anything from our menstruating female bodies, it’s that this holiday is a happy time, a time to be outward in the world and energetic, to use the light of the moon to guide us in our prayers for peace, love, and harmony.

If you find a strong spiritual connection in nature, this holiday is for you. Sukkot is all up in Mother Nature — for a week, we live outside, perform ritual rain dances, and stop our normal routines to celebrate the creative forces of life. Jump in and participate. We need your soul to come wander with the collective. Together, we will be elevated as we pray that all of people of the world (even our enemies) will experience the many blessings flowing from the Divine. During Sukkot, we honor that life is temporary, and that every once in awhile we need to come together to really delight in the peace we already have. Zman Simchatanu — rejoice.

Journal Questions

How would you describe your relationship to nature?

What does it feel like to sleep outside?

What are you rejoicing about?