JSU celebrates Sukkot

Club plans activities for cultural Jewish holiday


Ashley Reyes

Junior Noam Halpern, seniors Alana Weiser and Micah Davis build Sukkahs out of snacks at JSU, Thursday Oct. 13. JSU meets Thursdays in room B238

Jessie Belen and Cianny Belen

The Sukkot holiday is week long and happens every year in the fall starting October 9th through the 16th. It’s a way to celebrate the learning roots of the Jewish culture and reunite with those roots.

Isabel Nathan said this holiday helps her honor her Jewish culture. 

“It’s about reconnecting with the educational roots (of jewish culture),” Nathan said. “Learning is really important in Jewish cultures, especially biblical women.

The roots of this holiday run deep in the soil of the Jewish culture, according to junior Noam Halpern. Halpern explained that it’s more than just a holiday, it’s a celebration of the Jewish people and its beautiful resilience. 

“The Jews wandered in the desert for 40 years,” Halpern said. “Every night, they would build these shacks that we call a sukkah, and they were basically structures that were portable.”

Lexa Rischall, freshman member of the JSU, said the week-long holiday is properly honored with loved ones. 

“It’s about the family and friends who are under the sukkah with you. It’s about spending time with the people you love most,” Rischall said.

It’s more than appreciating the culture as a whole, but also appreciating the things in their life outside their culture, according to Rischall. 

“It’s about laughing with my brother and teaching my non jewish friends what a sukkah is and just being happy,” Rischall said.

Halpern also said Etrog and Lulav are important parts of this holiday. 

“Aside from sleeping and eating in the sukkah, there are these two symbols called the Etrog and Lulav,” Halpern said.  “The Etrog represents your heart and the Lulav represents all the parts of your face. The whole point is to shake them both in every direction to represent that god is all around.”

Though JSU has come together to bring this cultural diversity to the school, Nathan and her clubmates said the school’s administrative lack of care for the Jewish holidays is hurtful and disrespectful. 

“Every year we send an email to admin, telling them all the Jewish holidays during the year. All they do is tell teachers not to give tests on those holidays,” Nathan said.

This lack of care for Jewish students and their cultural holidays leads to many problems for the students’ lives themselves, according to Nathan. She said there are problems that would otherwise be avoided if administrators realized these holidays are just as important as Christmas. 

“It’s hard for a lot of students who have to not be in school for those holidays. It’s hard for them to catch up.” Nathan said. 

Rischall said the lack of cooperation from administration makes her feel disrespected. “I feel safe but I don’t feel respected. Other districts got Yom Kippur off, and I had to miss an actual day of school,” Rischall said. “They respect Christmas and Easter, which are major holidays in Christianity,”