The joy of Sukkot

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

Sukkot is a time of rejoicing. I am additionally celebrating for another reason. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services were, for me, a remarkable time of reflection, prayer and community. I take great delight in trying to welcome each member who walks through our doors. I love receiving updates whether it be from a year ago or the week prior. 

Being a part of a community girds me with strength, vision and passion to accomplish the sacred work I am blessed to be doing. I gain inspiration for sermons from my encounters with others. The way I approach reading the machzor (the High Holiday prayer book.) is influenced by my relationships with my community.

I feel enveloped with warmth by a community we call family. We live in a world where families are spread far and wide. Others have no one to call family except for the ones we make ourselves – families that are comprised of by choice not relation. I never feel alone when I walk through the doors of Temple Emanuel.

While Sukkot is a time of thanksgiving and appreciation and a time to rely more upon God and less upon material gains, it reminds me of how many blessings surround my family and our lives. This time of year begs me to take pause to notice all that is good in my life. I know that I am in the right place doing what matters most. I pray these positive feelings carry me forth day by day.