Yesterday, one of my daughters asked “Why are all of the Jewish holidays so close together?  Shouldn’t we take a little break before the next one?”  I can tell you that as a Jewish professional I would love to move the holidays around and space them out more evenly.  But alas …

At Ohabei Shalom we strive to teach all of our children about Jewish holidays through authentic experience.  In our preschool classrooms, the children explore the holidays with all of their senses.  They will have the opportunity to smell the lemony etrog and feel the prickly spines of the lulav branch.  Our older children will also find joyful experience their holiday celebrations.  All will have a chance to be involved in congregation’s sukkot celebrations by making decorations, visiting our new sukkah (near the parking lot), and shaking the lulav.  Because our schools are made up of Jewish, interfaith and non-Jewish families, we do not assume that every child and parent practices or knows all the aspects of Judaism.  We strive to provide adequate parent education about what the children are learning about and why.

You may have noticed that this year, TCEE will be in session during the upcoming Jewish holidays of Sukkot and Simchat Torah (click for more info about these upcoming holidays).  After much thought and discussion with the TOS clergy, we have come to the conclusion that by including these days as school days, we will be better able to celebrate the holidays together.  These holidays are a time of joy and wonder that provide all of our children with a strong foundation of Jewish values and fluency in Jewish ritual and custom.  On both Sukkot and Simchat Torah, you will have an opportunity to celebrate with your child, your family and our community, enriching the experience for all.

Please join us on Thursday, September 19 at 9:00 am for our TCEE Sukkot breakfast (followed at 10:00 am by Sukkot morning services for adults who choose to participate) and for Simchat Torah on Wednesday, September 25 (5:30 pm Pizza in the Hut, RSVP required and 6:30 pm service honoring all of our school children).

Sukkot, also known as “Zman Simchateynu,” or the “season of our joy,” reminds us that “to everything there is a season”.  If only my daughter understood the complexity of the Jewish calendar and that the holidays are so close together on purpose.  After, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, our community needs to be reminded that there is also so much to celebrate.  We must find that which is joyous and honor it, because like the sukkah, everything is temporary, and the time to celebrate is now.