Enjoying Sukkot under restrictions and lockdown in Israel


October 16, 2020

The Sopinsky family sukkah.

I'm sitting in my sukkah, fighting off the heat. This week we all have an extra room outside. We eat all our meals in the sukkah, despite the heat of the day. We are obligated by the Torah to do this, to remember our exodus from Egypt, and we take it seriously. It's simply the way of life here. To NOT have a sukkah would be strange, an embarrassment. We would stand out and people would talk. All around Israel this is happening. Our medics, always standing by, have sukkahs, too.

Growing up in New Jersey, we did not celebrate Sukkot. My family was Conservative. We went to Hebrew school and I'm sure there was a sukkah at the synagogue. But that was it. Nothing at home.

Israel is different that way. Here, being fully Jewish and observant is normal. Sukkot is celebrated. And it is wonderful.

As I write this, I hear the frequent blast of the jigsaw. Our next-door neighbors are building an addition to their small house. The father, in his early 30s, quit his job and is building with his own two hands. He is now working on the roof. His father is helping him. Some friends stop by, offering advice. His family is lucky. There are many Jewish builders in Israel. Engineers, too. I love that.

In Israel, building seems to occur nonstop. Every city is filled with cranes and scaffolding. Beer Sheva , 45 minutes away, has new high-rise apartment buildings going up. Here in Susya, we have added four new neighborhoods in the last 15 years, and now, people are adding second floors to their new homes. 

All this is occurring even though the country is in "Lockdown" mode until Oct. 18 due to the corona pandemic and the government rules. Families normally visit relatives during the Sukkot holiday, but now everyone is "stuck" at home in their empty sukkahs. Difficult for the empty-nesters and grandparents as this is an opportunity they look forward to all year. 

The roads here have been busy with attacks and violence, and unfortunately, our medics have had to remain on high alert during this time. To support us, visit: www.hatzalah.org

A new Hatzalah fund raiser

Welcome Rikki Arad to our Development Team. Arad, formerly executive director of B'nai Torah Congregation, has joined me with fundraising in the U.S. 

Rescuers Without Borders medic, Roi, with his son in their sukkah in Peduel.

Arad lives in Boca Raton, and was part of the B'nai Torah family for the past five years. She will be a tremendous help in bringing awareness of our work to the U.S., and has already begun building a local board of directors.

Since 2001, Rescuers Without Borders (aka Hatzalah Y"osh) has been the primary supporter of volunteer medics, paramedics and ambulance drivers throughout Judea and Samaria, working in full coordination with Magen David Adom in supplying defibrillators, medical equipment, ambulances and training. Today the organization has over 1,000 volunteers also in the areas around Jerusalem and the Old City. Rescuers Without Borders is funded completely by private donations and is a registered 501 c 3 charitable organization.

To learn more, visit us at http://www.hatzalah.org.il.


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