Join us to celebrate! Click below to learn more about these upcoming events.
Makom Yoga • Snacks in the Sukkah • PJCC Sukkah @ Filoli Harvest Celebration • Cooking in the Sukkah with Wornick Jewish Day School & PJ Library • JBN Sukkot Celebration
Sukkot is known as Z’man simchateinu, the festival of our greatest joy. Just five days after the spiritual peak of Yom Kippur, we re-enter the more physical realm and acknowledge both the impermanence and abundance of the natural world.
Sukkot is named in honor of the sukkah, an outdoor booth or hut, a reminder of how the Israelites sheltered themselves after they fled slavery from Egypt. It also resembles temporary shelters used by farmers during harvest seasons. The sukkah reminds us that everything in life is subject to change, that nothing is solid, and there is much in life we cannot control. The sukkah has an open roof made of branches to let in shade, shadows, and moonlight, as well as an open side to symbolically (and literally) welcome guests.
In the Torah, the first Jews, Abraham and Sarah, greet some unexpected guests who arrive at their tent and work to make them comfortable. From this story we learn the mitzvah of welcoming guests, or hachnasat orchim, which is not just about inviting people in, but also making them feel honored, relaxed, and at home. The simplicity of dwelling in the sukkah refocuses our minds on the important things in life—relationships, shelter and security, connection with nature—and loosens our preoccupations with the material possessions of the modern world.
How We Celebrate
Sukkot traditions embrace the beauty of the season with the building of a temporary sukkah in the backyard. A sukkah is meant to be simple—it requires only two and a half walls and a roof made of natural materials such as branches or bamboo rods. The roof, called s’chach (from the same word for sukkah), provides both shade and shelter, yet still allows for a view of the sky. Decorating the sukkah is an exciting and empowering time for family and friends, children and grownups alike. All eight days of the holiday, people are encouraged to eat their meals, study, and schmooze in the sukkah—some even bring a sleeping bag and camp out overnight!
Another central custom of Sukkot is to bind together four plant species: a small bouquet of willow and myrtle branches with a palm frond, together called a lulav, alongside a lemon-like citron called an etrog. Jewish wisdom teaches that these four different species represent different senses, character traits, or kinds of people, amongst other metaphors. Each day we say a special blessing for the lulav and etrog and shake the bundle, pointing them in six directions to symbolize the oneness of all creation. Please visit our PJCC Sukkah in the Hamlin Garden to try out this ritual anytime this week!
Stretch in the Sukkah: Thursday, October 13 • 12:00 pm • PJCC Hamlin Garden
Join Rabbi Laurie for a gentle yoga experience to help prepare your body and spirit for the upcoming holiday. By integrating meaningful Jewish themes of the season with mindful movement, Makom Yoga is your next step to inner connection with the Jewish calendar.
Please bring your own yoga mat and any props that help you feel supported and comfortable. Chairs will be available.
Tuesday, October 11 • 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Shake the lulav with other families! Join PJCC and PJ Library for a fun and relaxed Sukkot celebration. Enjoy etrog “shakes” (sorbet spritzers), edible graham cracker sukkahs, PJ Library holiday stories, and a chance to do the rituals of the holiday.
Geared towards families with children ages 0-8. Registration required. Sign up here.
Saturday & Sunday, October 15 and 16 • 12:00 – 3:00 pm
Filoli (86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA)
Join PJCC and PJ Library at Filoli for a family-friendly, hands-on Sukkah experience. We’ll decorate paper chains with our hopes and dreams for the year, design edible sukkahs, shake the lulav, and enjoy PJ Library stories. Thank you to Filoli for including Sukkot in the Harvest Festival weekend!
While you’re at Filoli, experience live music and art, learn more about the harvest season, and spend time exploring the gorgeous house and grounds! Complete Harvest Celebration hours are 10:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Advanced purchase of tickets required. Reserve your tickets on the Filoli website; select the date (October 15 or 16) you plan to attend.
Filoli Public Admission: $25 Adult; $22 Senior (65+); $20 Student/Teacher/Military; $15 Child (5-17); Free for children under 5. Filoli Members: Check your membership for specific pricing.
Presented by Wornick Jewish Day School and PJ Library
Sunday, October 16 • 10:00-11:30 am • Wornick Jewish Day School
Join Wornick Jewish Day School and PJ Library for a free morning of fun hands-on activities, including cooking, art, and more! The event is scheduled to be outdoors. Advanced registration required by Wednesday, October 12 at 12:00 pm.
Sunday, October 16 • 10:30 am – 12:00 pm • Takes Place in a Private Residence (Address Provided After Registration)
Join Congregation Kol Emeth and JBN Director Carol Booth in her backyard Sukkah to celebrate the fabulous fall holiday Sukkot! Sing and dance in the sukkah, shake a lulav and etrog, and enjoy nature-themed crafts and snacks. Every family receives a complimentary Sukkot-themed gift bag. Register here.
JBN programs are designed for families with children aged 0-36 months. Older siblings welcome. Everyone is welcome, including unaffiliated, single and multi-parent, multi-faith, multi-ethnic, multi-abled, and LGBTQ+ families.
Events are cosponsored by Congregations Beth Am, Beth Jacob, Kol Emeth, Or Shalom, Sherith Israel, and the PJCC. JBN Major Funders: The Koret Foundation, Rodan Family Foundation, and Leslie Family Foundation.