IVANOVO, Russia – In the Russian city of Ivanovo, members of the local Jewish community built a sukkah (booth) in preparation for the Sukkot festival. On Sunday, the second day of the seven-day festival, they gathered in the sukkah in celebration of this joyous holiday.
The occasion united Jews of different generations, men and women from all walks of life, those who are active in local Jewish life and others who are just learning about their Jewish heritage. During the festival of Sukkot it is a mitzvah (commandment) to “dwell” in the sukkah. Local Jews were happy to be able to perform this mitzvah.
Another mitzvah associated with Sukkot is to recite a blessing over the lulav and etrog (palm and citron) together with willow and myrtle branches. Members of the Jewish community fulfilled this commandment as well. Passers-by gathered to watch and expressed an interest in what was happening. They asked if they, too, could enter the sukkah in order to say their own, personal prayers to G-d.
The highlight of the holiday was a festive communal meal. A special aspect of the meal was that the new seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as traditional Jewish foods, were all served. Everyone present in the sukkah had the opportunity to try them all, in addition to reciting the respective blessing.
The Jewish community of Ivanovo, headed by Margarita Shnir, is a proud member of the Federation of Jewish Communities of Russia.