Saturday, November 5, 2011

History is just stuff repeating

Oh, Fall. Having lived much of my adolescence in California, the change of seasons is still a noteworthy event. This is my second Fall season as a Moishe House resident, and I already feel how different everything is the second time around! The prep for an event, the weekly meetings, the required blogs... what once seemed intimidating or confusing, hah! No longer, my friends.

As fellow bloggers have mentioned, the real start of Fall for the Jews is all about Sukkot. Yes, yes, the Hebrew calendar starts anew sometime in Fall, but Sukkot really gets you in the season properly. For me, it’s the gathering of natural materials for the schach. I’m pretty convinced that the trimming of the city’s parks, family’s yards, the city streets' trees and all that other landscaping you see at this time of year, really started because that’s when we need stuff to cover our temporary shelters. (Another example of our history governing ‘secular’ activities? Pesach & spring cleaning!)

Last year I had also found much of the material for our schach, but I was mostly just hired help, taking directions. This year, as one of 2 ‘veteran’ residents, I took it upon myself to lead the building of our sukkah. (shout-out: Moishehouserocks.com!) I won’t go into the details (you should’ve been there!), but will rather share some thing I took from it.

As we built our sukkah, 2 doors down (no, not 3) we could see a family building theirs. (Note: the family’s sukkah was more ‘kit’ than ‘creation’ but to each their own) I stopped my efforts for a few moments to watch the two children throw schach onto their latticed-roof as their parents looked on. It hit me that here I am, participating in a tradition that, by all intent, I’ll be passing on to my children. And that’s what warms my heart about the Judaism I continue to discover, practice & share as a leader in our community: the universality - and at the same time, the uniqueness - of its role in one’s life. In some years, those children will be building their own. Years from now, my children will be throwing schach onto the structure I built. And 800 years ago, far away from Philadelphia, and without the musical accompaniment of an iPod & speakers and other 21st century niceties, a father was watching his children do the same.

-Cody Greenes

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