Sukkot and Simchat Torah: Resources and Reflections

This year we’ve rounded up a menu of our past Sukkot and Simchat Torah posts for you to explore. Below you’ll find resource guides, rabbinical commentary, and personal reflections. 

Who are you inviting into your Sukkah this year?

This list of suggestions of honored guests to invite into your sukkah includes LGBTQ Jewish heroes (in poster form) and your ancestors (via a family tree).

What We Can Learn from the Rich Symbolism of Sukkot

“The sukkah invites the Jewish community to effect change in the way it treats all people. This may include those to whom Jewish institutions may be blind – singles, gays, lesbians, transgender people, the unengaged, the elderly, newcomers, and the marginalized (as well as a whole host of other community members with special needs). These “outsiders” may already be in synagogues, quiet and in the back, but on Sukkot, Jews are commanded to welcome them as guests.”

“But when men and women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people, singles and married, young and old, all stand together – we can, as is so of the lulav and etrog, move in many directions.”

—Rabbi Andrew Sacks 

Sukkot: A Time (and Place) for Welcoming

“Sukkot teaches us that to be truly welcoming we need to make ourselves visible and we need to push ourselves to be a little uncomfortable to make room for a wider welcome.”

—Kathryn Macias

Simchat Torah: Circling Back

“Why does that Torah reject a tidy satisfying closure to its epic tale? There’s a message here… Life, like Torah, is a wandering journey in the wilderness, not a destination. Even the major developmental steps of a life – education, career choice, sexual identity, love relationship, family formation, geographic location, retirement – seldom come in exactly the right order at the right time. This is even more true in the queer community. How many of my friends have “gone back to school” later in life? How many have children in their forties or fifties? How many spent their twenties or thirties (or later) negotiating a new gender or sexual identity? How many times have I myself come out? It never stops. Just when I think that I’m about to reach the Promised Land, wham! There I am back at the beginning… As Jewish individuals, communities, and as a people, each time we return to the beginning, we do so with a bit more experience and wisdom. Though we didn’t reach the Promised Land, perhaps we learned a bit more in the last cycle of our journey. There is a richness and depth to revisiting important themes, both in Torah and in our lives. As we return to the beginning, we also get to look forward to a more complex future.”

—Rabbi Jane Litman

Simchat Torah: Rejoice in Resources

A compilation of ways to make sure your Jewish community has the resources for an inclusive and welcoming environment for LGBTQ members and their families during the holidays. 

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Simchat Torah: Rejoice in Resources

With Simchat Torah around the corner, we’re thinking about the resources the Jewish community needs to be more inclusive, welcoming, and a safer environment ...

What We Can Learn from the Rich Symbolism of Sukkot

There are more spiritually resonant symbols associated with the Festival of Sukkot than with any other major Jewish holiday. On ...

Reclaiming the Joy of Torah

With the holiday of Simchat Torah coming up, rabbinical student Becky Silverstein considers how the Jewish calendar lets her renew ...