Thanks to all for an amazing holiday season. Yes, all those meals and 3x 3-day holidays was a lot of work (and tremendous cost) but so rewarding, memorable and meaningful.

This year’s highlights:

  • The weather! It didn’t rain once on any night that we sat in the Sukkah together, beautiful weather throughout the holiday.
  • Around-the-World in the Sukkah… the visits to Italy, Israel, Syria and China – with special foods and menus, connecting table-cards and meaningful messages added spice and fun to the first 4 meals in the Sukkah.
  • This year’s energy and momentum was exceptional on Simchat Torah, despite a smaller overall crowd, with spillover to Hakafot on Simchat Torah Day, and even a dance on Friday Night. Despite being a 3-day holiday, there was much less Jew’d-out feeling than other years. See our Simchat Torah Dancing Tribute!
  • Special Guests: Mitch G. back up for his 18th consecutive Simchat Torah at Shabbos House (what a record!), the Hendels who came for the first days of Sukkot, Adam and Allie (class of 2006 and 2007) came up for both parts of the holiday, Naama with her brother Liav, Moshe S. from Israel, and others who added to the spirit and celebration. True, this year we had far less alumni than in past years, but the guests we did have added tremendously.
  • And the Sukkahleh Song! We can forget the Sukkaleh Song as the tradition continues on for yet another year… See the English Sukkahleh lyrics here).
  • There was something about the vibe and atmosphere, that was uplifting and memorable and joyous… a truly amazing holiday season.

On the Shabbat Lunch at the very end of the long marathon of holidays, we asked students to share their most memorable moments of the Tishrei holiday season. I made it clear that we won’t write it all up here, too many to remember, but here’s a few memorable ones:

  • The Jam Night and Late Night Learning in the Sukkah stood out for several people. The music and energy was great, the weather held up, it was perfect. We did it for Hoshana Rabba, the last night of the Sukkot holiday, traditional time for late night study.
  • Believe it or not, a number of people said they were especially moved by the Neilah closing service of Yom-Kippur! A few said that they enjoyed praying with our community, and can’t always say the same for when they are at synagogues at home.
  • Simchat Torah Hakafot were most memorable for many, some especially liked the day-after Hakafot on Simchat Torah day. Also another new tradition for us (started by Eliot H.) is to take the Torah and Lulavim outside for the Hoshanot Prayers on Sukkot and circle all of Shabbos House, inside and out.
  • The purple and gold New Sukkah on the Block at the Block Party was a bold, bright and accessible way for over a hundred students to experience the Sukkah and shake the Lulav and get Jewish holiday awareness out there.
  • You never know what people remember… for some it was the Rugelach baking at the Sukkah Building BBQ, for others it was trying to remember the words to the Sukkahleh song in their apartment in the days before the holiday, the spontaneous and energetic Duck Duck Goose game inside the house after a dinner in the Sukkah, or the apple-cider served hot with cinnamon sticks on Friday Night, or the Lehem-Bajine meat pizzas during the Syrian Lunch.
  • and much more!!!