The etrog is a relatively new crop in the Negev desert, where it is being grown by a handful of ex-settlers from the Gaza Strip.
Your beautiful, exorbitant, Israeli-imported lulav and etrog are killing the environment, Jordie Gerson writes. And who needs the racket?
Why the Jews want etrogs, Mohammed Douch does not entirely understand. What he does know is that they are his main customers.
Sukkot and Simchat Torah have slowly but surely evolved into a time of year when the envelope is pushed when it comes to women’s participation, even in Orthodox communities.
Who would pay $350 for a single fruit? Orthodox Jews roam the back streets of Brooklyn’s Hasidic neighborhood to find the perfect etrog for Sukkot.
Nothing is more associated with the holiday of Sukkot than the etrog, the lulav with its willow and myrtle branches. But in the Bible, the identity of three of these four species is unclear.
At dawn, before the summer heat starts baking the countryside, groups of bearded men with black kippas descend upon the citrus groves that dot the coast of Calabria, in southern Italy.
Yoni Wattenshtein’s brothers were out till 2 or 3 A.M., stocking up on the four species central to the observance of the holiday, and preparing to sell them in markets that spring up across Israel in the days leading up to the weeklong celebration.
Sukkot has traditionally been one of the easiest Jewish holidays to relate to current environmental concerns. The ritual of voluntarily “living” or eating meals in temporary, intentionally fragile huts reminds us of the cycles of the earth by placing us in physical contact with the elements. Putting up and decorating a sukkah to make it comfortable and cozy enables us to evaluate what and how much we really need to live with or consume. As another way of connecting with the environment and our ancestors we also engage with and say blessings over four plant species delineated in the Torah, the lulav and etrog. These messages seem applicable and forward-thinking; they bring our observance of ancient laws into the present.
The controversy over women’s right to pray at the Kotel is a modern issue. But its roots can be traced back to events that occurred almost two thousand years ago — only a few yards away.