By Adrienne Jacobson, Chairperson, Cape SAJBD
As Chair of the Cape SAJBD, I thank the Israelites for living in huts during their 40 years of wandering through the desert and for giving us the festival of Sukkot. Not only because it is my personal favourite Chag (despite our sukkah taking off in the wind once and landing on Bakoven beach during the judging of the sukkah building competition – I would have won that hands down) but because it allows us to do the work of the Board in such a meaningful and connected way via our annual Sukkat Shalom, my favourite interfaith and intercommunity Board event.
In keeping with the gathering together of the four species of plant – the lulav, etrog, hadass and arava – to symbolise different types of people in unity, we gather the leaders of different communities and faiths, politicians, consulates, and community leaders and host them in our sukkah. We come together to share a meal, to share stories, experiences, projects, hopes and dreams. We bring our communities closer and build bridges of opportunity and collaboration.
We celebrate friendships and partner in projects geared to make the Western Cape a better place.
We are also reminded that we don’t have to wonder alone in the desert when we can come together to achieve so much more.
And here are a few other leadership lessons which we can learn from Sukkot:
1. Commemorating a difficult journey to freedom is meaningful, and any worthwhile goal has discomfort and an encounter with the elements. Freedom is something we earn through perseverance and a difficult journey.
2. Dwelling in a sukkah reminds us that life is fragile and that we should appreciate one another, and to look on others with a sense of rachamim, of empathy, tolerance and openness, focussing on the good and the potential that they can become rather than on the mistakes they make.
3. Leaving behind material possessions and moving outdoors reminds us not to be attached to things but rather to people. True joy comes from those we are blessed to be with.
Through the lessons of Sukkot, as we gather together in a Sukkah of Peace, may we not only connect with our joy and happiness in coming together but also support one another in our purpose. May we connect with strength and unity together, and be a beacon of light, of protection and of abundance as we lead our communities.
Wishing everyone in our community a gathering together of special family, friends and visitors, in joy and happiness in a sukkah under the stars and African sky to share blessings and bounty.