Posts Tagged: sukkah Results 5
When my family walked into our Orthodox synagogue on Monday, the first day of Sukkot, we got there in time to see women holding their own lulav and etrog and performing the processional of “hakafot” on the women’s side of the mechitza as the men made the circuit on their side. This tandem march is not something I ever saw at the modern Orthodox synagogue I grew up attending in New Jersey, and would be an unlikely sight at most Orthodox synagogues today. All my 8-year-old daughter wanted to know, though, was when she could go outside to play with her friends.
Nobody intentionally set out to make Sukkot and Simchat Torah feminist holidays. Yet, slowly but surely, these two Jewish festivals have evolved into a time of year when the envelope is pushed when it comes to women’s participation, even in Orthodox communities in which egalitarian practice isn’t easily accepted. Over the past four years, the changes picked up speed in Israel and the Diaspora as the awareness of the phenomenon of “exclusion of women” has heightened, inspiring many to push back against it at this time of year. On Sukkot, more and more women are buying and using Sukkot objects like the lulav and etrog, and helping to build and spending time in the Sukkah. On Simchat Torah reading from and celebratory dancing with the Torah on the holiday that celebrates the sacred scroll, and reading from it has become something that even women in very traditional communities are not willing to forgo.
Pickling cucumbers, cultivating yeast for Challah, sewing tallit … these hebraic homesteading projects are certainly not for everyone. But most Jews would agree that plenty of our traditions instill a cool-before-it-was-cool “Do It Yourself” aesthetic. This is a culture that often made do with very little and did it all behind closed doors, or within a tight-knit community. Historically, the center of Jewish life was the home, not the synagogue. And so we present to you a list of eight reasonably simple Jewish DIY projects. You can totally do this stuff. I promise.
Of all the holidays I’ve never observed, Sukkot has always looked like the most fun. Growing up, I didn’t know anyone who celebrated the autumn festival; my awareness of it came entirely from reading. Sukkot would have seemed exotic if it wasn’t somehow so familiar, a combination of Thanksgiving and being allowed to sleep on the back porch.
“Mad Men” is my favorite television show. I know, I’ve got lots of company. But the plaudits are well deserved for a show that relieves us of overstatement and laugh tracks.
Best about the incisively-written show is the recondite emotional life of its women. Sure, Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm) tries his hunky best to have mysterious moments, but the other men seem one-dimensional compared to the female characters written by Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner.