Ancient Traditions Help Jews Celebrate Holiday

By Lissau, Russell | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), September 27, 1999 | Go to article overview

Ancient Traditions Help Jews Celebrate Holiday


Lissau, Russell, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Russell Lissau Daily Herald Staff Writer

Less than a week after Yom Kippur, one of the most solemn Jewish holidays, Gurnee-area Jews came together Sunday to celebrate a much more festive occasion.

The cause for Sunday's party was Sukkot, a commemoration of the fall harvest and the Hebrews' wanderings after their exodus from Egypt.

About 200 members of Congregation Or Tikvah celebrated the holiday at the home of congregation President Alan Mann. They ate, drank, talked and laughed around a traditional sukkah, a wooden structure built to resemble the homes of their nomadic and agricultural ancestors.

"Our congregation is a community, a family-based congregation, and this is a way to celebrate together," said Mann, who lives in Gurnee. "This is one of the ways we develop that family."

Sukkot actually began Friday night and will last seven days. The sukkah is the centerpiece of the holiday.

As is the custom, Mann's sukkah had only a thatched roof made of corn stalks. The lack of a ceiling recalls his ancestors' nomadic lives.

"They lived in temporary huts," Mann explained. "That's why there's no roof, so we can look at the stars."

It is also tradition for Jews to sleep in the sukkah, imitating their ancestors' behavior centuries earlier.

"This is one of the ways we can connect to generations before us," Mann said. …

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