The beautiful and joyous holiday of Sukkot is upon us.  As we spend some time in the sukkah, we usually focus on the spiritual aspect of the holiday which encourages us to appreciate the beauty of the world that surrounds us.  In ancient times, Sukkot had a much more practical meaning.  It was an agricultural holiday.  The Torah refers to Sukkot as Chag Ha’Asif, the Festival of Ingathering.  It was a holiday marking the harvest in the land of Israel where the produce of the land was gathered and celebrated by the community.

As we celebrate Sukkot at Ramat Shalom, I can say that this year it is truly a modern Chag Ha’Asif, a modern Festival of Ingathering.  As I was building one of our sukkahs at the synagogue, I received a letter from Jewish Family Service, thanking us for the incredible amount of food we gathered and donated to their pantry on Yom Kippur.  Our donations completely filled the pantry, overwhelming the staff at JFS.  I have also received a report from Leslie Goldman, our Executive Director, informing me that the response to this year’s Yom Kippur Appeal has been tremendous.  So many of you have shared a generous financial gift with the synagogue, enabling us to fill the Ramat Shalom “Sukkah” with incredible blessings and making it possible for us to bring more folks into our “Sukkah” to become a part of the Ramat Shalom family.  On this Chag Ha’Asif, I thank you for allowing Ramat Shalom to truly celebrate an incredible harvest of giving.  Your generosity has made a tremendous difference here at home and in the larger community.  We are an incredible congregation.

Chag Sameach!  Happy Sukkot!

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