A New Sukkot Experience
Natalie made Aliyah to Israel in August of 2019. For her, every holiday spent in Israel is special and unique from what she's used to in the United States. Shortly after she made Aliyah, she was introduced to a side of Sukkot that can be described as, Only in Israel!
Last year I was invited for Sukkot on a moshav outside of Ashdod, Nir Galim. The moshav itself was a dream. It was spread out but felt small, and there was an immediate sense of community, especially coming from my hosts whom I’d never met before. It was immediately a very different experience than any others that I’d had in the bigger cities in Israel.
As for the Sukkot meal, I’ve never had an Israeli holiday meal that I didn’t love. However, there was extra magic that I felt due to the fresh air of the moshav and for being able to see the starry sky more clearly than I ever did in an Israeli city. Eating in the sukkah with a family I had never met and feeling completely at home was simply wonderful. It’s also worth noting that it was the warmest Sukkot I had felt, comparing it to Octobers in Massachusetts that I’d grown up with.
What made the night so special though was what happened after the meal. The family I was staying with had young children, who after the meal went around to different families on the moshav. As I started to go with them, I realized that this tradition was strikingly familiar to one of my favorite American autumn pastimes- Trick or Treating on Halloween. I walked with the kids all around the moshav as they collected treats from all of their neighbors.
Seeing all the children running around from house to house to be greeted warmly by their neighbors, and myself being welcomed in as a complete stranger made for an incredible experience. It was a wonderful beginning to my Aliyah and by far my most memorable Sukkot.