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"Who wants to help?" my father asks, as he drags long pieces of wood into the yard.
"We do!" we all shout.
Yom Kippur is over and it is time to get ready for Sukkot, the Festival of Booths.
My brother and Is tart to nail the wood together.
"This sukkah will help us remember that we lived in small shelters when we escaped from Egypt," my mother reminds us.
"It is a mitzvah to sit and eat in the sukkah," my grandfather adds.
My mother and sisters hang canvas from the frame to make walls. My father and grandfather place corns talks and pine branches on top. We hang fruit from the leafy roof and paint pictures on the walls. We put up lights and bring in tables and chairs.
It feels good to be busy after the thoughtful stillness of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
We gather in the sukkah on the eve of the holiday. My grandfather explains the custom of ushpizin, inviting our Biblical ancestors to join us each night of the holiday. "Tonight, we are inviting Abraham and Sarah," he tells us.
"Come in, holy guests, Please join us in our sukkah. Please come in patriarchs, Enter matriarchs. Take your place with us And join us a tour meal."
I imagine them walking into the sukkah and sitting beside me as we eat.
Excerpted from On Sukkot and Simchat Torah by Cathy Goldberg Fishman, Melanie Hall. Copyright © 2006 Cathy Goldberg Fishman. Excerpted by permission of Kar-Ben Publishing.
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