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Singing the Hadassim Blues in Memphis

October 10, 2019, by

With Sukkot on the horizon, one of my rabbinic tasks was making sure that the Young Israel of Memphis’s aravot (willow) and hadassim (myrtle) gardens were getting all the TLC they need. This year my concern grew after my wife, Layala, pointed out that while our aravot were thriving, many of the leaves of our

Rabbi Soloveitchik on Ari Fuld zk”l and the Willow Jew

September 26, 2018, by

“The lion has roared, who will not fear” (Amos:3:8). “אַרְיֵה שָׁאָג, מִי לֹא יִירָא” The Shelah Hakadosh (Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz 1555-1630) suggests that this verse hints to this precise time of year. The word lion, aryeh, should be read as an acronym: Alef = Elul, Resh = Rosh Hashanah, Yud = Yom Kippur, Heh =

All About Hoshanos

September 20, 2018, by

From OU Holidays! What are Hoshanos? Why do we say them? Why is the schedule the way it is? What’s “Ani Vaho?” Find out all this and more with this colorful, downloadable PDF!

If Your Sukkah and Your Lulav Could Talk…

September 20, 2018, by

Shlomo Horwitz is the founding director of Jewish Crossroads, an educational theater project that has provided creative Torah programming across the US, Canada, England and Israel. He studied at Yeshivat Shaalvim and Yeshivat Ner Yisrael in Baltimore, where he received ordination from Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg. Shlomo is a CPA and a director of a consulting

A Very Urban Sukkot

October 2, 2015, by

Sukkos – for many, it’s summer’s last hurrah. Being outdoors, hopefully in green, lush and warm (or not too cold) surroundings. A pleasant return to nature before autumn really kicks in. A great time to spend away from home, perhaps in a rural environment. (Imagine spending Sukkos at a sleepaway camp or a bungalow colony…)

Sukkot Meals Pure and Simple

August 20, 2015, by

“What do you do in the sukkah?” I once heard an interviewer ask a man as the holiday of Sukkot approached. His reply? “You eat, and you eat and then–you eat again!” How true. During the week of Sukkot, we consider our sukkah to be our home for seven days. Since the primary activities of

Sukkot: The Lulav

October 1, 2009, by

At Sukkot we fulfill the mitzva of taking the four species – etrog (citron), lulav (palm), hadas (myrtle) and arava (willow). While we must take all four kinds to fulfill the mitzva, we refer specifically to the mitzva of “lulav”. The lulav is also the central species and the longest, and the bracha refers only

Sukkot: A Sukkah Life

September 30, 2009, by

For most, it remains an enigma. We say it; it seems like it fits – but one suspects that we are essentially clueless (an admitted projection) to its Sukkos significance. I refer to the strange recitation at the end of our bentsching, (grace after meals) where we customarily insert a special request throughout Sukkos: Harachaman

The Year of the Flying Sukkah

October 6, 2008, by

This story took place close to a decade ago. Although it’s about a flying Sukkah, it really began about a week before the holiday, when the stores throughout Jerusalem were selling a new type of Schach that could be used over and over again. Their advertisement ditty, “U’b’Sukkaseinu…” played to a catch tune, blared throughout