A Joyous Festival


It’s always a welcome transition moving from one of the most solemn days of the year, Yom Kippur, to one of the most joyous, Sukkot. We go from fasting and repenting to celebrating the harvest and the protection God gave the Hebrews when they left Egypt.

Such contrast allows us to kick off the new year on a joyous note after clearing our conscience.

This week, JT reporters assembled a package of Sukkot stories to capture how people and institutions around the region will welcome the holiday. Connor Graham spoke with synagogues and individuals about where and how they get their lulavim and etrogim, and about personal connections to the Four Species. While many get their Sukkot essentials through their shuls, one person recalled how his father used to grow etrogim at his home in Cheswolde and give presentations about them in area schools and shuls.

Jesse Bernstein spoke with several area Hillels and university Chabads about how students can celebrate the holiday on campus. Sukkahs on wheels bring the holidays to the people; some plan for daily meals for up to 100 people; and others put up their sukkah with the intention of creating a space in which students can take a breather from the stresses of daily college life.

Susan C. Ingram looked into what those in apartments and senior housing do for Sukkot. While one resident of a high-rise told Susan that she and most of her neighbors go to their friends’ sukkahs, there are a variety of options for elder members of the community. For example, Weinberg Village has had a community sukkah sponsored by CHAI for about 10 years that residents decorate and socialize in; North Oaks had its first community sukkah last year; and for those who attend programs at the Myerberg Center, resident synagogue Chevrei Tzedek puts up a sukkah on the patio between the center and Weinberg Woods.

In other news, Jesse attended an anti-hate event sponsored by Towson University’s AEPi chapter, which was prompted by an anti-Semitic assault on two students in the spring. The university’s president spoke as did a representative of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, making strong statements against hatred and intolerance at the university.

On the political front, Connor reports on a recent meeting with U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-District 3). He sat down with the congressman at our offices last week to discuss a number of issues, including the dysfunction in Congress; Sarbanes’ proposed legislation to empower voters, strengthen ethics laws and reform the campaign finance system; the Mueller investigation; the Kavanaugh hearings; Israel; and the upcoming midterm elections. You can read the fascinating conversation on page 17.

Happy reading, and have a joyous Sukkot.



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