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The Meaning of Sukkot from a Russian-speaking Jewish Perspective

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One of the first things that Russian-speaking Jews (RSJs) who wanted to learn more about their identity had to do in America was learn about Jewish holidays. While I am speaking strictly for myself, this is perhaps the order in which the major Jewish holidays became familiar to many RSJs.

Hanukkah is the holiday I remember learning about first. The menorah, the miracle of the burning oil, the victory over the Greeks all made sense as a holiday. Add to that chocolate coins plus gift giving and the meaning of Hanukkah becomes crystal clear to a child. After that, I think I learned about Passover. Escape from slavery, and freedom, the concepts are relatively simple to understand.

After that I probably got familiar with Rosh Hashana. While the idea of a New Year is straight forward, the confusion came from there already being a New Year on January 1st, which was the biggest holiday in the Soviet Union. So why was another New Year needed? Oh, okay, it’s a New Year based on a different calendar, this, a kid like me........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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