MARIETTA—After a weekend of atoning for the past year’s sins, Cobb County’s Jewish community will be observing a different holiday, this time with plenty of food, music and a view of the stars.
Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday, also known in the Bible as the Feast of Tabernacles or “booths,” that celebrates the harvest and the exodus from Egypt.
The holiday began last Wednesday and some religious Jews have spent the week sleeping and eating meals out of homemade temporary shelters, or sukkahs, in their yards.
Jewish families and communities traditionally come together during this holiday to build temporary structures with at least three walls, and sometimes four, with thatched roofs, so that those inside have a view of the stars above.
“It is like a Jewish Thanksgiving,” marking the first of the three agricultural holidays of the year, said Denise Jacobs, the senior administrator at Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, on Canton Road, near the Marietta Campground.
Jews will eat pomegranates, figs, dates and dried fruits, native to Israel during this time of year, while sitting on the ground in their structures. Kol Emeth’s can fit about 40 to 50 people this year, Jacobs said.
The real celebration will be Friday night at Kol Emeth, where a band will play traditional Jewish music while congregants dance with Torah scrolls, shaking palm branches and a citron, a fruit that looks like a lemon. These items represent the new life and the new Jewish year, which began on Sept. 4.
The rabbi will read the last sentence of one Torah, and quickly jump to the first sentence of another Torah, to represent the continuity of the old year into the new.
“And, of course, there will be food,” Jacobs added.
At Chabad of Cobb, on Lower Roswell Road near the Indian Hills County Club, the main celebration was Monday night.
Between 200 and 300 people were expected to come out to East Cobb Park for a free celebration Monday from 5 to 7 p.m., said Teddy Sable, the manager of the Chabad of Cobb.
The group had planned to build two sukkahs — each large enough to house 10 to 30 people, who could eat kosher pizza, cotton candy and popcorn under the thatched roofs.
Just as at Kol Emeth, there would be dancing with the traditional branches, Hassidic music, a raffle and a giant slide, Sable said.
“I’m excited to have fun with the community, and share the joy of the holiday with so many people,” she said.
Keep an eye out for makeshift shelters in your neighborhood this week, and wish those you see celebrating a happy holiday, or, in Hebrew, Chag Sameach.