Inviting Jews of the World to the Sukkah

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The following liturgy, which invites Jews of communities around the globe to the sukkah, is a contemporary twist on the traditional ushpizin ceremony, in which biblical figures are symbolically invited to the sukkah.

Each evening:

Enter, holy guests, and share in this feast. Enter, messengers of Jewish life near and far. Take your place among all those in diaspora gathered in my Sukkah. May we soon be gathered together from the four corners of the earth and walk proud and upright to our homeland.

First evening:

Tonight we invite to our Sukkah the Jews of Eastern Europe, remnants of a once-numerous community decimated by war and persecution. Their academies of learning and thriving culture may no longer shine with former glory, but the spirit of ages past survives in the heart of every Jew.

Second evening:

Tonight we invite to our Sukkah the Jews of Arab lands, who lived in relative peace for centuries among their neighbors. Gathered into Israel by the thousands in our century, their culture survives in their new home. Some small communities remain in their host country, many endangered by government oppression or local prejudice. We hope for
their redemption.

Third evening:

Tonight we invite to our Sukkah the Jews of Mediterranean lands. Their
Sephardic culture enriched our tradition with scholarship, poetry and music as well as colorful heroes and valor in the face of adversity.

Fourth evening:

Tonight we invite to our Sukkah the Jews of Persia, a community which traces its history straight to the Book of Esther. As scholars and merchants, citizens and communal leaders, they played an important role in Persian and Iranian life until recent days. Now, the community is dispersed, and we pray for the safety of those who remain.

Fifth evening:

Tonight we invite to our Sukkah the Jews of Ethiopia, a community lost to us for thousands of years. Their oral history reaches back to the time of King Solomon, and their steadfast dedication to Torah through the years is a miracle exceeded only by their reunification with our people in our homeland.

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Rabbi Jack Moline is the rabbi of Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria, VA.

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