Ah, Okanagan Jews. We’re nothing if not an industrious people!
While the entire OJC community looks forward to our “Pizza in the Hut” Sukkot event each year, the truth of the matter is, we live in the Pacific Northwest, and sometimes, it rains (even here in the gorgeous Okanagan Valley).
And, boy, is it raining this week!
And though our dedicated Sukkah builders were ready with freshly-trimmed branches and plenty of burlap, the idea of celebrating under the chilly, wet skies was daunting.
But do we let that deter us? No way!
The sukkah represents the nomadic tents that the Jews called home during the flight from Egypt. As such, Jewish law dictates that a sukkah should be temporary, and constructed with at least three walls and a roof that provides shade, but still allows the stars to shine through.
Well, alas! This year at the OJC, there was no need to protect our kippah-covered heads from the blazing sun. Instead, this year’s sukkah provided shelter from the cold rain, but still offered plenty of open space to see the stars that were surely hiding somewhere behind the clouds.
A group of clever –and, thankfully, pretty tall– community members built the sukkah under cover of the shul’s front portico.
Our talented kids, along with Barb Pullan’s very creative dad (here on loan from Winnipeg), worked hard to decorate our alternate sukkah with colourful paper chains, handmade fruits and vegetables, and other imaginative ornaments and trim. The result: a bright and beautiful space to celebrate this harvest festival!
Evan Orloff taught all attendees the proper way to shake the lulav and the etrog, and several community members got to try their hands at it, too. East. South. West. North. Up. Down. Shake, shake, shake!
And then inside, to “shake” off some of that rain…
Steven Finkleman regaled us with tales of the history and importance of the Sukkot holiday (ask him about the sea-monster skin –who knew? Ogopogo, you’ve been warned...).
And then, because we are Jews, we ate. Some cultural traditions are tough to give up...
Pizza, fruits and veggies, and Barb Finkleman’s delicious chocolate cake made even the rainiest of days feel like a warm and wonderful holiday.
It’s a testament to this community that we can come together regardless of the conditions and know that we are connected to a larger whole.
The OJC is strong and growing stronger every day. Let’s keep this momentum going! Together we can create a shelter that fits all of us to a “T”.
Find out more about the Okanagan Jewish Community Association services, cultural programs and events. We’d love to see you there!