(Soo-COAT, translation: Booths, or temporary shelter)

"The Festival of Booths" is celebrated for seven days, beginning five days after Yom Kippur. It is also known as the "Festival of the Harvest," where we recall how the Israelites traveled through the Sinai desert after being freed from being slaves in Egypt. The final day of Sukkot is Shemini Atzeret, described below.

McGillis Celebration

At McGillis, we honor the holiday of Sukkot by building and decorating a Sukkah (SOO-Kah), a temporary outdoor booth or shelter, and holding a special potluck party and fund-raising event that benefits organizations whose missions are consistent with the themes of the holiday, such as providing shelter for those without, and caring for the earth.

McGillis has an "Ethics in Action" day on Sukkot.

Traditional Celebration

The Torah (the first five books of Moses), states that shelter, sustenance, and water were divinely provided for the Jews during the years after liberation from slavery in Egypt, as they wandered in the Sinai desert.

It is a tradition to build an outdoor booth – or sukkah – a temporary dwelling place with wood or fabric walls that can withstand strong winds. The roof of the sukkah is left unsealed to emphasize the fragility of life, and so it is possible to see the stars.

Families will decorate their sukkahs with Autumn and Jewish symbols, invite guests, and eat meals in the sukkah.

There are special symbols – a lulav, which is a woven rod of myrtle, willow, and palm, and an Etrog, a citrus fruit resembling a lemon, which are traditionally waved within the sukkah while special blessings are said.