JERUSALEM, Israel – Makeshift shelters can be seen throughout Israel as Jews around the world began the weeklong Sukkot festival Monday night.
Sukkot comes from the Hebrew word “Sukkah” – the name given to the temporary dwellings Jews erect outside their homes during the holiday. It’s there that families gather for meals, meet with friends, and sometimes even sleep.
The flimsy dwelling is meant to remind the Jewish people of how God provided for their forefathers as they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years after escaping captivity in Egypt.
Sukkot is the third of the three pilgrimage festivals after Passover and Shavuot, when Jews throughout Israel were commanded to go up to Jerusalem. It is also a celebration of the bountiful fall harvest.
Families decorate the sukka with replicas of fruits and vegetables, strings of lights, and an endless selection of bangles, beads and children's artwork. Palm fronds cover the roof, allowing the sky to peep through.
The International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ) kicked off its 42nd annual Sukkot celebration Monday. Sukkot – also referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles – is a time when many Christians express their support for Israel and friendship with the Jewish people.
“Your passion for Israel is an uncompromising statement of support for the Jewish State, for its people, and for our destiny,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said in a recorded video message at ICEJ’s opening ceremony.
“This is what friendship really means — a true partnership between Israel and the many, many thousands of Christian supporters of Israel. And the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem plays a major role in maintaining this support,” Bennett added.
Typically, thousands of Christians flock to Jerusalem for the annual ICEJ Feast of Tabernacles celebration. But this year, it is being held online due to COVID-19.
While the pandemic may limit Sukkot gatherings, it isn’t stopping Jews and Christians alike from celebrating this joyous biblical holiday.