The results indicate that Sukkot is on the radar screen of all the respondents, but not necessarily celebrated as a family in their own home. 55% of the congregation has never built a sukkah at home, but 35% state that they have special meals in someone’s sukkah most years. 15% do build a sukkah at their home every year, which for a liberal congregation is a sizeable amount. 67% of respondents have shaken lulav and etrog at least once and over 25% shake it most years. Virtually no one has slept in a sukkah for at least one night.
When asked what the core message they took away from the Sukkot experience and teaching the following comments were made:
- Even though I was unable to participate in any of the events I was made more aware of the environmental connection.
- We need clean, healthy water to live, harvest, sustain life, complete exodus, fulfill peoplehood.
- Adat Shalom is trying more creative things! This is good!
- I need to think about ways to conserve the environment in my everyday life.
- There is a lot more that we could do to save water and the environment.
- I learned the connection between Sukkot and water.
- The Adat Shalom community is an incredibly thoughtful and creative community.
- I learned a little about the water connection in Fred’s Shabbat/Sukkot teaching with the kids. I LOVE the jewish/earth/calendar/full moon connections. It makes the whole thing organic and touchable.
- I never thought about water as part of the Sukkot theme before. I now have a new understanding.
- I learned more about green behaviors we already do, but now I can put them in a Jewish framework.
- I enjoyed the water/Sukkot emphasis, and will think about it next year
- I learned a deeper appreciation for bringing nature into our prayer life
- I learned a deeper appreciation of the natural rhythms and basis of our tradition
- Sukkot’s many water themes make a perfect eco-friendly teaching moment
When asked how they would change their Sukkot observance next year because of the H2C2 programs this year, the following comments were made:
- build a Sukkah and spend more time in it
- Water test like that at the aquarium in our Sukkah
- I felt inspired to build a Sukkah
- Stay aware of the water and eco issues and design a Sukkah
- Eliminate use of disposable paper goods
- Think and buy with autumn/Sukkot in mind
- Build our own Sukkah by our backyard pond (we’re working on establishing our own little ecosystem).
Other comments and suggestions that were made:
- Make a check list for people to post on their refrigerator as a reminder of changes they might make
- Especially for the kids I think it is great to continue reinforcing the earth cycle/natural phenomena connection to Jewish observance
- It is great to have family oriented Jewish learning activities at Adat Shalom. Keep adding more to the program.