There Are No Silly Questions

Jewish Week Online Columnist


Over the years, I’ve had what must be tens of thousands of conversations with congregants, and strangers that I’ve met in the context of my work.  I couldn’t begin to count the number of times those conversations began with the words “Rabbi, can I ask you a silly question?” 

The good teacher — or should I say the wise teacher -— will tell you that there are no silly questions.  There are silly answers, to be sure, but very few if any silly questions.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik

The Odd Economics Of Sukkot


Sukkot is a holiday beloved for its sense of openness and beauty, to be able to sit within and yet feel a part of all outdoors, seeing the moon through the roof, feeling the weather through the walls.

And yet, Sukkot has somehow developed into a holiday whose economics are the least transparent of any holy day of the year.

‘A Lulav And Etrog Shuk’

Staff Writer

One of New York City’s busiest — and briefest — shopping centers made its annual appearance this week.

Between Sunday, the day after Yom Kippur, and Wednesday, erev Sukkot, a stretch of several blocks along the south side of Main Street in Queens’ heavily Jewish Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood, became a pre-holiday bazaar. At wooden tables set up along the street, Sukkot supplies went on sale.

Available were Four Species sets and materials for family sukkahs. And, in once-a-year storefronts, ready-to-assemble sukkahs themselves.

Photo By Michael Datikash

Why No One Will Read This Blog

Don’t you have anything more important to do today, on the eve of the last days of the long Sukkot holiday -- at the end of a month of two-and-a-half day work weeks -- than read blogs?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have you here, just a little surprised, that’s all. I wasn’t really expecting anyone. Thought I would just vent in private about how tough this month has been in terms of keeping up with work responsibilities.

Lulav Ltd.

As holidays go, Sukkot has its fair share of rituals. In addition to building the huts and eating in them, the prayer for dew, the ushpizin and of course the blessing of the four species, I’ve added one of my own.

Sukkah in the City

Aaron Herman attends Sukkah in the City, an international design competition challenging designers, artists and architects to newly reinterpret the structures while following traditional rules.

Moving out to the Sukkah – A Reflection on Ethical Consumption

Special to the Jewish Week

Each fall after the High Holidays have passed, the Jewish people move from comfortable homes into impermanent huts in backyards, driveways and on balconies for the festival of Sukkot. By eating and living in these fragile shelters, we train ourselves to temporarily subordinate our gashmiut (materialism) to the value of ruchaniut (spirituality).

Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz

Suddenly It’s Sukkot


For a major holiday, Sukkot sneaks up on us. Less than a week after the grandeur and majestic pomp of the Days of Awe, we find ourselves doing construction work and pretty much living under branches and within the fluttering sukkah walls in our backyards and porches. From our Rosh HaShanah-Yom Kippur finery, we’re now dressed, as often as not, in coats and sweaters, swatting bees and sensing the change of seasons.

The Essence Of Sukkot, Inside And Outside Israel

Special To The Jewish Week

Shabbat candles: 6:33 p.m.
Torah reading: Exodus 33:12-34:26; Numbers 29:17-25
Haftarah: Ezekiel 38:18-39:16
Havdalah: 7:30 p.m.

What is the true symbolism of the sukkah? The Talmud [B.T. Sukkah 11b] cites a difference of opinion between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Eliezer as to whether the sukkah commemorates the huts in which the Israelites dwelt in the desert, or the “clouds of glory” which encompassed us in the desert as a sign of Divine protection.

Heat Damages Israel’s Etrog Crop


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s unusually extreme summer heat has seriously damaged this year’s etrog crop, growers say.

Strong heat and winds caused many more of the fruit, one of the four species required for the Sukkot holiday starting Wednesday night, to fall off trees prematurely, a grower told Haaretz.

In addition, while in most years 10 percent of the harvest is designated of highest quality, this year only 1 percent received the designation, another grower told Haaretz.

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