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Sukkot

sukkot
Photo by RonAlmog on Flickr; we eat in the sukkah during the Feast of Tabernacles.

Sukkot or Sukkos is the Jewish harvest festival. This holiday takes place on the 15th of the month of Tishrei (sometime between late September to late October), and occurs on the full moon (the Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar and many of our holidays start on the full moon).

The word sukkot literally means “booth” or “tabernacle” and the holiday is often referred to as the Feast of Tabernacles. After the exodus from slavery in Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the dessert for 40 years and lived in sparse and temporary dwellings called “sukkot” –the holiday is to commemorate this period.

Sukkot is in fact a seven day holiday (eight in the diaspora). The first and second days are sabbath-like in observance (In Hebrew this type of day is referred to as yom tov , which literally means, good day). The eighth day of Sukkot is called Shemini Atzeret (the word Shemini is a derivative of the word eight in Hebrew which is sh’mona). Shemini Atzeret literally means “the Eighth [day] of Assembly.”

The holiday immediately following Sukkot in the Diaspora is Simchat Torah  (or, “Joy of the Torah”). In Israel, Simchat Torah is celebrated on Shemini Atzeret –are you following this? It’s a bit complicated, even if you are Jewish.

We eat in the sukkah (or booth) during Succot, to celebrate the harvest, and we hang all sorts of beautiful gourds and such to decorate it. We also recite blessings over the lulav and etrog.

Sukkot Menus typically offer loads of fruits and vegetables in honor of this harvest festival. Here are some delicious dishes that you can choose from for your celebratory Sukkot meals:

What are you serving for Sukkot? What else do any of you want to share about your experiences with this amazing holiday?


posted on October 1, 2012

  1. Melissa

    I love hearing about the Jewish holidays and traditions. Sounds beautiful!

  2. Hope

    We are celebrating our first Sukkot this year, however I am just going to set up a tent as I don’t have all of the traditional items.
    The kids are very excited and the teaching is what counts. Fun!

  3. Olivia@ OmNom Love @ omnomlove.blogspot.com

    I’m not Jewish, I’m Lutheran so I will not be celebrating Sukkot. However, I’m very interested in Jewish holidays. It seems like you guys have so many of them lol! ;) The rosemary apple chicken and pumpkin bread sound wonderful and I will have to try them soon. Thanks for posting all the great recipes!

  4. Carol

    I love your sukkah! My family built a sukkah every year; over the years, my mother analyzing what kinds of branches worked as “scratch” and what fruit wouldn’t rot as the week wore on. It was a huge family occasion and I loved it.
    My husband and I do not build a sukkah but Sukkot remains my favorite holiday. Roast chicken and my mother’s homemade vegetable soup were always the winners.
    Chag Sameach, Elana!

  5. I am a Christian, but enjoy studying the Old Testament, especially since everything important that happened in Christianity happened on a Jewish feast day.
    I think it would be useful for all of us to live simply for a week once a year to remind us of all the wonderful things the LORD has done for us.
    Blessings, GiGi

    • Darlene

      We celebrated Yom Kippor and Sukkah in Israel, best time of my life! These Feast are NOT just for the Jews but if you read in the scriptures or Torah it is for all of the Tribes of Israel. Love this web site, she has great recipies and ideas.
      Thank you for being there Elana. Blessings to you!

      • We’ve just studied an overview of Jewish customs and practices in our religion class. Thank you for sharing the history and beauty of Sukkot with all of us. The recipes sound delicious. I’m craving roast chicken with rosemary (from my herb garden :)

      • Ann @ yisrael.me

        Amen Darlene! The feasts and holy days were given to all 12 tribes of Israel. We are celebrating Feast of Tabernacles in Trinidad at a beautiful eco friendly estate called Waterville. It’s our first Sukkot and I am loving it!

  6. Michelle

    Thanks for the recipes. Sukkot is one of my favorite holidays. From the time my oldest was 2 we built a sukkah in our backyard. He is now 23! Our two daughter have enjoyed the holiday with us also, all
    sleeping in the sukkah on the weekends with their dad. My youngest, 15, plans to sleep with friends in our sukkah this weekend. We continue the tradition and invite many family and friends to share in our holiday, especially those who do not have their own sukkah. I made a large pot of vegetable soup today, made organic brown rice sphaghetti with meat sauce last pm…Garden and fruit salad are a favorite, too.I strive for simple and easy during the holiday so there are less pots to drag out to the sukkah. I love the peacefulness and quiet of sitting outside at night. Hag Sameach to you Elana!

  7. Tracy

    Elana,
    I am always blessed by your many recipes and this 2nd evening of Sukkot we brought your gingerbread apple crisp to my in law’s sukkah for dessert as they are trying to eat gluten free. Later this week we have invited friends to our sukkah to enjoy making wreaths from the artemesia that grows wild here on our farm. Since we missed the twins birthday, we will velebrate by serving them one of your cupcakes as this family also is feeling better eating gluten free. I always say”Elana’s recipes always come out delicious and I’ve never been disappointed! Many thanks and Chag Sameach!

  8. Rachel

    I am, as I’m reading this, enjoying roasted beets with balsamic glaze, kale chips and premade Trader Joe’s chicken in my family’s first ever sukkah. The Just Chicken and the iPad are probably not so much what those ancient Israelites had in mind, but the cool air after a sweltering day and a few minutes alone while my husband bathes my kid are hitting the spot. Happy Sukkot!

  9. Myrite @ tastylife.org

    Hi Elana!
    Love how you always feature recipes related to the Jewish holidays! It makes me want to share the holiday with everyone I know with pride!
    My chavurah community in Montreal has built a sukkah with all kinds of activities taking place during the week- storytelling, music, and meals that use the end of this year’s harvest. I just looked outside and noticed a beautiful full moon shining down on me. I never knew Sukkot took place on the full moon! Chag sameach and thanks for all the amazing recipes and inspiration.

  10. Carolyn

    Thank you for taking time to tell about Jewish history and customs. Although a Christian, I revere the Jews and their struggles even to this day. I love all the recipes, and it’s nice to see a menu of complementary dishes.

  11. Chag Succoth sameah Ilana! Your succah looks very nice;much nicer than the cheap,plastic made in China-succas that so many use here….

  12. CJ at Food Stories @ foodstoriesblog.com

    I love learning about various cultures & traditions … Very interesting :-)

  13. I love a good history lesson. You never get to hear about this kind of stuff. Thanks!

  14. Karina

    That’s really neat that you celebrate all of the Jewish holidays! I learned about them in a World Relgions course last semester, so I was able to follow you here :)

  15. Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy @ glutenfreehappytummy.com

    how beautiful!! how cool that it’s a lunar calendar:)

  16. Aidel.K

    I wish I’d seen these recipes earlier, but they will help with me with last days. My favorite new recipe I tried this year was chocolate bark with pomegranate seeds. One of my FB friends posted it–super easy: just melt chocolate (I used decadent Scharffenberger), spread on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds. After it hardens, break into chunks. We all loved it.

  17. Jan J.

    I also love hearing about the traditions and ceremonies of other religions. My children and I are Christian, but I make it a point to teach my kids as much as I can about other religions and we often use cooking as a way to explore other cultures in our homeschool. This is a beautiful celebration – we will try some of the recipes listed!

  18. This was a great post, I love when you share information on the Jewish Holidays and Feasts! As I was driving through the Colorado College campus today on the way to the Colorado Farm and Art Market I saw a Sukkot set up on the campus lawn…I was so thrilled to look at it and know what it was!!!

  19. Tui

    Our family loves sukkot too! Besides all the schlepping down three flights of stairs with everything we needed, it is a lot of fun. I served your chocolate orange torte for desert, as we sat and the rain dripped in through the palm leaves, it was a beautiful moment, to feel the first rain in Jerusalem and to end the meal on a sweet note. Loving you site x

  20. Maria Bear

    Love the picture!

    We learned about the jewish tradition from reading a book to the kids:

    “All of a Kind Family” author is Sydney Taylor.

    Your kids would enjoy it. It’s a turn of the century Jewish family.

  21. Elana

    Hi Elana,
    Here in Jerusalem yellow peaches were in season for the first time this summer, so I made your peach almond ice cream, I doubled it and left out the stevia. AMAZING!
    BTW for anyone who didnt leave time to squeeze the fresh almond milk, it came out to about 3/4 cup for one recipe.

    I also always make the date espresso bars with my kids, no stevia or agave needed either, and we press it into small chocolate molds and call them “tomorrow toffees” (tomorrow as in “tamaro, tamar is date in hebrew)

    And lastly we made non dairy caramels – we adapted a recipe from 101 cookbooks
    1 Cup honey
    1 Cup almond milk
    1/2 Cup coconut oil
    heat constantly stirring until it hits 248 degrees, remove from heat, stir in 1 tsp vanilla and pinch of salt, pour into mold, let set and cut into squares with greased knife.
    we dipped ours into 72% melted chocolate – Delicious!!!

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