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Jews Prepare Sukkah for Harvest Holiday

Families gathered to decorate the sukkah at Temple Sholom in Greenwich on Sunday in honor of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot that begins Wednesday at sundown.

Lori Baden, director of communications, membership and programming at the temple, said it is customary to eat meals in a sukkah, which represents the temporary shelters that housed ancient Israelites during their 40 years of wandering in the desert after their exodus from Egypt. Families at Temple Sholom used paper chains as well as fruits and vegetables to decorate the sukkah for the harvest holiday.

In the sukkah, Baden said, it is customary for the roof to remain partially open and allow the sky to show through. Usually wooden slats are placed across the top with branches, foliage and shrubbery over them.

Sukkot lasts seven days. On each day, blessings are recited over a lulav and an etrog, two symbols of Sukkot. Josh Altman, associate director of special projects for Temple Sholom, explained the holiday and the significance of the two symbols to the families. A lulav is a palm branch held together with five willow branches. An etrog is a citron that is similar to a lemon. The branches and fruit are waved each day of Sukkot to represent different types of Jews coming together.

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