If it seems to you that there have been a lot of Jewish holidays recently, that’s because there have been. September through October is a busy time of year for our observant Jewish friends and neighbors. Tonight at sundown begins another holiday, one that’s been in preparation since Yom Kippur ended. Happy Sukkot!

a round palm branch frames "Happy Sukkot!" the citron, myrtle, and willow artistically round out the four species of tradtion.

Also known as the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkot is, as one commenter put it, kind of a “picnic holiday,” because you eat outside in a little hut, and may even sleep outside in it. The production company BimBam even put together a take-off on The LEGO Movie to explain about the holiday (Don’t worry, it’s only about 4 minutes long).

I could see this having the makings of a fun, family thing to do. Indeed, there are guidelines made especially for parents, to help ensure that children will find the holiday special and enjoyable

But it’s not just a holiday for children. It’s clearly a ritual of faith that all ages can enjoy (and even ignorant Gentiles such as me can appreciate). The traditional greeting is “Chag Sameach” (“Joyous festival”), but “Happy Sukkot!” also works.

In this photo from 2018, members of the Beth Hillel congregation of Kenosha, WI celebrate Sukkot in a  tent-like sukkah with branches and decorations.
In this photo from 2018, members of the Beth Hillel congregation of Kenosha, WI celebrate Sukkot (Kevin Poirier/Kenosha News photo)

I’ve found online instructions for building a sukkah, using everything from concrete blocksto a prefab kit. Clearly, the tradition started in a hot, dry desert. But Jews live everywhere, even in places such as North and South Dakota and Minnesota, where they’re currently having winter-storm conditions

The weather forecast for Aberdeen, SD is a case in point that Sukkot isn't always celebrated in balmy weather. The headline on this 5-day forecast from the National Weather Service says, "Snow continues into Sunday morning, below average temps continue."

There was a blizzard in Denver, Colorado yesterday, for pity’s sake. How do you celebrate Sukkot in a blizzard, I wondered. Since there is nothing new under the sun, I checked, and yes. There are Sukkot guidelines for bad weather. According to Shir Tikvah in St. Paul, MNthe way to celebrate Sukkot in Minnesota during a snowstorm is indoors

I also found an enlightening discussion from 2015 about what to do if a hurricane threatens on Sukkot. You might enjoy the dry humor of the full article from the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. Not much to anyone’s surprise, weathering adversity seems to be something they take in stride.

So, to all Jews everywhere, wherever, and in whatever kind of sukkah you celebrate, however, I wish you a happy Sukkot! (and may you stay warm and dry).

IMAGE CREDITS: Many thanks to bettystrange of 123RF for the “Happy Sukkot!” design, and to BimBam, for The LEGO Sukkot Movie. I also appreciate Kevin Poirier’s photo from the Kenosha News to offer a real-life example of a Sukkot celebration. The graphic from the National Weather Service is the forecast for Aberdeen, SD, as of the time I wrote this post.