Jewish community set up sukkah hut behind Woodford Liberal Synagogue to reflect on nature
PUBLISHED: 10:01 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:01 10 October 2017
The newly formed community of the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue celebrated their first Sukkot festival together to remember the harvest and those without shelter this winter.
Sukkot is a Jewish Autumnal festival that began on Wednesday October 4 and lasts for seven days.
It involves the building of a Sukkah, a temporary dwelling that must have the night stars visible through the roof.
Traditionally people would live in the Sukkah, but today people come together just for services and meals in the temporary dwelling.
Rabbi Richard Jacobi led a blessing on Wednesday evening in the Sukkah which was built at the back of Woodford Liberal Synagogue on Malborough Road in South Woodford.
Families shared wine and challah and decorated the Sukkah with fruit, vegetables and green foliage that they had brought with them.
Rabbi Jacobi said: “The festival reminds us of harvest, but also of how fragile our life can be and of our responsibility as a community to those who do not have shelter.
“It’s a good reminder, particularly in towns and big cities where we lose our connection with the natural cycle of the year.
“It serves as a time to let the land rest over the winter and hopefully everyone will find somewhere to keep warm and live.”
Merle Muswell, synagogue volunteer said: “We were very fortunate to have warm weather for the Erev, the first evening of the festival.
“People of all generations came together to successfully decorate the Sukkah.”
Members from Bet Tikvah and Woodford Liberal Synagogue joined together to form the East London and Essex Liberal Synagogue this year.
Rabbi Jacobi explained that they are looking for one space for the 638 adults and their children that make up their community, to enjoy for the next 50 or 60 years.
He told the Recorder: “We are part of a community that is now larger and has an optimistic future together. It’s a busy time but an enjoyable time.”
The Sukkah will remain at the synagogue, until next week when the Simchat Torah festival begins on Wednesday October 11.
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