Memories of Sukkot in Israel

3 weeks ago Leighest 0

Sarah Serfaty, Mission Viejo, CA

The Chagim, holidays, are right around the corner again. Pretty crazy how fast time goes by, right?! The High Holidays are a very special time and though we celebrate them all over the world, my favorite memories are of spending Sukkot in Israel, where I lived for four years.

Just like here in the States, people observe the holidays to varying degrees.

I was born in California, but in 2004, my parents decided to make Aliyah and move to Israel. My family lived in Beit Shemesh, which was a very diverse community. Our neighbors were from Europe, Canada, Morocco, Ethiopia, and the US. In my community, every holiday was very celebrated. My favorite memory is when all our neighbors would help each other build their sukkahs. They were colorful, festive, and radiated happiness. Everyday, our neighbors would come over and we would just hang out. Now, for anyone that has not experienced this, imagine walking down a brown and red brick road and seeing huts in every house’s front yard. Even though we build sukkahs here in America, it’s a very different feeling when everyone does it together.

My other favorite memory of Sukkot in Israel was going sukkah-hopping. Sukkah-hopping is going from sukkah to sukkah and collecting candy. Sometimes, there is a D’Var Torah thrown in, and other times, they just give you candy. In Israel, you see sukkahs everywhere, from the malls to the grocery stores and, of course, the shuls.

I would never trade the experience. Since I moved back to the U.S. in 2008, I have not seen or had a sukkah like the one we used to build in Israel. I miss the celebratory feeling of Sukkot in Israel, but, of course, it is still super fun in California. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Israel for Sukkot, do it! It is life changing.