A new generation enjoys an ancient celebration
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A new generation enjoys an ancient celebration

We read in the Talmud that Sukkot is when God judges the world for rainfall. In the days of the Temple, a special ritual, "the pouring of the water," was performed each day of the holiday, asking God to provide the rain that was needed.

The rabbis tell us that thousands of spectators came to watch the drawing of the water used for the ceremony, and that the event was surrounded by feasting, dancing, and singing. In fact, says the Mishnah, "He who has not seen the rejoicing at the Place of the Water-Drawing has never seen rejoicing in his life."


Chabad of Teaneck’s Pizza in the Hut Family Sukkah Party, held in ‘004.

Today, we recall this special ceremony — a gathering marked by music and dance, with refreshments served in a sukkah. On Oct. 10, the entire Jewish community of Teaneck will have an opportunity to take part in such a celebration, to be held at Cong. Keter Torah.

The vast sukkah at the synagogue, located in the shul’s courtyard, will be awash in colored lights, bursting with live music, and teeming with Teaneck revelers. Last year, more than 750 local residents attended this special event, now in its sixth year. In its first year, seven synagogues participated. This year, 11 are taking part.

Said organizer Steve Rubel, "We will serve up delectable desserts, along with wonderful live entertainment and simcha dancing. Many members of wedding bands who live in Teaneck are providing the live entertainment gratis. Among them are members of the BaRock, Nafsheinu, and Neshomah Orchestras."-

Raffles for trips to Israel will be sold at the event for $’0 each. The money raised will go to Project Ezra, a local organization that assists the unemployed, and Yad Eliezer, an Israeli organization that feeds the poor in Israel.

The inspiration for the event came from Rubel’s hometown, Memphis, where his father was Elvis Presley’s gastroenterologist and the man, said Rubel, who got Elvis to donate money to the local day school. Rubel, a child psychologist and semi-professional musician, acknowledges the strong sense of "connectedness" in the Memphis Jewish community.

"They have a number of annual events that include members from all the different synagogues in town," he said. "Don’t get me wrong — even in Memphis, once you get Jews together for an event, you’ll get multiple opinions — but southern hospitality toward your neighbor has always been an important part of my growing-up experience, and I thought we might add some here."

Since Rubel will not be present for the celebration — he will be in Israel for his niece’s bat mitzvah — last-minute arrangements will be handled by his colleague Philip Goldschmidt, who shares his enthusiasm. "This is one of the few, if not the only, post-denominational events in town, where every Jew is welcome to participate in celebrating the festive holiday of Sukkot," he said. "And … there won’t be much suspense [since] the drawing for the Israel trips will take place that same night.

Synagogues participating in the Simchat Beit HaShoevah this year include Arzei Darom, Beth Aaron, Beth Abraham, Bnai Yeshurun, Keter Torah, Rinat Yisrael, Shaare Tefillah, Tzemach Dovid, Friends of Lubavitch, and Young Israel of Teaneck.-

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