The Creation of a Sukkah (II) – A Children’s Event for the Whole Family

sukkah is a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. It is topped with branches and often well decorated with autumnal, harvest or Judaic themes. The Book of Vayikra (Leviticus) describes it as a symbolic wilderness shelter, commemorating the time God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness they inhabited after they were freed from slavery in Egypt.

It is common for Jews to eat, sleep and otherwise spend time in the sukkah. In Judaism, Sukkot is considered a joyous occasion and is referred to in Hebrew as Yom Simchateinu (the day of our rejoicing) or Z’man Simchateinu(the time of our rejoicing), but the sukkah itself symbolizes the frailty and transience of life and its dependence on God.

Led by Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels, our program offered an introduction to Sukkot for children and adults; learning to wave the “lulav” (a palm frond, myrtle and willow branches, and a citron), an important ritual during Sukkot; and making decorations for the Sukkah with arts and crafts materials while Rabbi Comess-Daniel explained the meaning and symbolism of Sukkot.

Rabbi Neil Commess-Daniels
Temple Beth Shir Shalom, Santa Monica, CA

Rabbi Neil Comess-Daniels brings his passionate expression of Judaism and strong sense of social justice to Temple Beth Shir Shalom. With his congregation, he facilitates Jewish community and spiritual discovery and works toward Tikkun Olam – “healing the world.”

A founding member of Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE), he has chaired the Martin Luther King, Jr. Westside Coalition and the Interfaith Holocaust Service. With his musical and writing talent, Rabbi Neil communicates the Jewish tradition’s riches and composes for people of all spiritualities. He recently released an album for children, “On This Day and All the Time,” and published “I Miss You,” a book of poems, prayers, songs and guidance for adults helping grieving children. A graduate of UCLA, he was ordained in 1979 at the Hebrew Union College.