After the hot and humid pandemic DC summer, Sukkot, which begins on October 2 this year, couldn’t come at a better time. In fact, although it’s not the holiest or most-celebrated fall Jewish holidays, I think Sukkot is going to have its moment this year. After all, its outdoor dining and gathering component, with lots of fresh air, is arguably the original social distancing.
With Sukkot, a smaller and more-spaced-out-than-usual gathering doesn’t feel quite so out of place as it did with Rosh Hashanah or Passover at the start of the pandemic. In a year of so much change and uncertainty, Sukkot is one of the things that actually doesn’t have to be so different. Maybe you’ll stick to meals with just your immediate family or make your sukkah bigger and leave the sides more open so there’s more room between diners. Maybe you’ll invite friends over, but ask them to bring their own food. The setting—under the stars—is the same.
Regardless of how you choose to host, this year offers a wonderful opportunity to go all out on the decor for your sukkah. During Sukkot, we’re instructed to treat the sukkah as our permanent home and our house as a temporary dwelling. Many of us haven’t had anyone in our homes in months and have missed out on the chance to show off new family photos or the kids’ latest artwork. Consider displaying these things in your sukkah and coming up with other creative ways to take your decorations up a notch and make this dwelling as beautiful as your home.
See here for a holiday-themed activity for kids