This week marks the festival of Sukkot. Below is a guide to the holiday, including ways to celebrate it in the city.
What is Sukkot?
Sukkot is a week-long Jewish holiday that celebrates the fall harvest. It is one of the most joyful festivals in Judaism, meant to bring families, friends and communities together.
The holiday also commemorates the 40 years that Jews spent in the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt.
Sukkot, which the plural of sukkah, means "booths" or "huts" in Hebrew.
When is Sukkot?
Jews celebrate Sukkot on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrei. It comes five days after Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism.
This year, Sukkot starts after sunset on Friday, Sept. 29 and lasts until sunset on Friday, Oct. 6. In 2024, the holiday will begin on the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 16 and ran through the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 23.
What is a sukkah?
On Sukkot, many Jews build a sukkah, which is a small hut. Jews live, eat and sometimes even sleep in the booth during Sukkot, commemorating the time the Israelites spent in the wild — in huts of their own — after being freed from slavery in Egypt.
The sukkah typically has a temporary roof made from thatch or branches, allowing stars to be present at night, while also providing shade and protection from the sun during the day.
Once the sukkah is built, many people decorate it with hanging fruit, art and even mittens. At the conclusion of Sukkot, some Jews then donate the items in their sukkah to those in need.
The sukkah teaches Jews that "nothing in life is permanent, so the key is living life properly," according to the Lookstein Center at Bar-Ilan University.
What are the four kinds?
The four kinds, also known as the four species, are four plants mentioned in the Torah.
They are the lulav (palm branch), hadas (myrtle), arava (willow) and etrog (citron), according to the Jewish Museum London.
Observant Jews take the four kinds, recite a blessing over them and wave them in a special ceremony each day of the Sukkot holiday, excluding Shabbat.
How is the city celebrating Sukkot?
Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan will celebrate the start of Sukkot Friday with "a festive oneg featuring the tastes, sounds and decorations of Sukkot in Uganda."
The B'nai Jeshurun synagogue in Manhattan will host Sukkot services Friday. They will also host a service for children on Sunday, where families with children under 7 years old can attend and sing, learn about the holiday and shake the lulav and etrog.
The Ashreynu synagogue in Queens will welcome Sukkot Friday evening with a casual happy hour followed by an outdoor lively musical service and dinner.
The Wandering Jews of Astoria are hosting services and a potluck Friday to celebrate Sukkot.
The Luria Academy of Brooklyn will have a "sukkot experience" Sunday that includes music, dancing, stories, puppets, bubbles, and pizza.
There are various other events across the five boroughs celebrating Sukkot hosted by local temples and synagogues.