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September 22, "Ulan" rest home

   In one of his novels Igor Guberman pointed out that Jews grown up in Israel can easily talk about king David, king Solomon, as if they knew them in person. But those living outside the Promised Land hardly associate themselves with the history of their people. Jewish holidays help us to feel ourselves a part of "our great past". Almost all of the holidays are based on certain historical events and data. The celebrations organized by the Diaspora visibly connect Jews with their source and serve as a thread binding all of them, irrespective of time and distance. All those thoughts occurred to me in connection with Sukkoth. On a cheerful autumn day of September 22 the Jewish community of Almaty went to a beautiful place - "Ulan" rest home - to celebrate the holiday.

  Have you ever built and decorated a hut? Have you ever sung songs about what a great thing to do it is? Have you ever held real Etrog, Lulav, and Myrtle? Many of us have just found out that Etrog is a citrus plant and symbolizes Jews who study the Torah and perform good deeds. Lulav is a branch of date-palm, the symbol of those who also study the Torah, but can not boast of their good deeds. Adas or Myrtle symbolizes people who perform good deeds, but do not study the Torah. And Aravah is a willow, the symbol of those, who neither read the Torah, nor do good. Thus, the philosophical meaning of Sukkoth is to gather all them together, to make them feel that all Jews are united and responsible for each other.

  Look at the faces of those who have touched the Tradition for the first time. Adults are so serious and concentrated. And children easily hold mysterious branches and fruits and bow to the four sides of the world. They say on Sukkoth seven righteous men go down from heaven to visit us, they are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. We wish they visited our Sukkah.

  Then there was a meal for everybody. We not only ate, but also sang merry Jewish songs. My friend whispered to me: "I feel so good here. My heart bleeds only over one thing - my mother didn't live to see that one could be a Jew openly. She would be so happy."

  Then there were relay races. Everybody could take part in them. But elder people preferred to sit on the grass and warm themselves under the autumn sun. "Business" was done, now they had time for "pleasure" and rest. But young men had a first-rate fun and got prizes. You know what a pleasure it is - to get prizes and presents!

  The day was over. Everybody went back to Almaty. Those who were in our bus were singing cheerful songs - they holiday went on.

Ludmila Starodubova

Sukkah makes us remember about forty years of wandering in the desert
  Celebration of Sukkot
Celebration of Sukkoth
We are holding Lulav and Etrog
We are holding Lulav and Etrog
We are buliding a Sukkah
We are building a Sukkah
Children are a soul of every holiday
The Best Sukkah contest
The Best Sukkah contest
Photo from Vladimir Semchuk
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