It has been said that the only true joy is shared joy.
On Sukkot we are told to rejoice in the festival and we do so by inviting not only our friends to share our meal, but also unseen Ushpizin — Aramaic for guests — Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David.
This year the Board decided to share the festival with other exalted guests, people from other faith communities who would have been unlikely to have had the opportunity of being in a sukkah or knowing about the festival.
On a beautiful spring day, curious and most appreciative Muslim and Christian ushpizim, including an archbishop, an imam, a dominee and an interfaith minister, sat down to a meal hosted by the Board inside the Gardens Shul sukkah.
After a welcome by SAJBD Cape Chairperson Rael Kaimowitz, Rabbi Feldman told them about the festival. He explained how living in a temporary dwelling for a week makes Jews realise how dependent we are for our welfare on Hashem and how very many people have to live all the year round, not just for one week, inside a temporary draughty shelter.
Rabbi Feldman also showed the guests the Lulav and the Etrog, explaining that palm, myrtle and willow branches bound together form the Lulav. “Each plant is different and could represent a different type of person. One person could have both learning and good deeds; one could have the one without the other; and another could have neither, yet when bound together they form a community. So too our society is made up of different people from different faiths with different interests,” he said.
The event created an opportunity for people from different religious backgrounds to be joined together as one community in the sukkah, enjoying the meal and chatting together.
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Featured organisation of the month: The Jewish Community Services’ (JCS) activities are centered on relief for the poor and distressed in the Jewish community. They provide a full range of preventative, educative and supportive counselling, statutory services as well as material relief. Visit http://www.jcs.org.za for more.