Last Saturday, 22nd October, Joe Stirling and I were delighted to attend a Sukkot ceremony at the invitation of Annie Henriques, Chair of the Norwich Liberal Jewish Community. This event took place at the Community’s regular home at the Old Meeting House in Colegate in Norwich, a beautiful historic Congregational Church. Others from the Inter-Faith group were there, along with Deputy Lord Mayor of Norwich, James Wright.
It was my first time at a Jewish service and I was excited to see the simple Sukkah, or shelter, erected outside the building from simple sticks and covered with natural materials, including various fruits. This festival is a celebration of Harvest as well as remembering the Jewish exodus from Egypt and the Israelites sheltering in the wilderness. Having studied a little about Torahs and the Yad (ritual reading pointer) for my book, I was fascinated to witness Rabbi Leah Jordan opening the decorative box and removing the two huge parchment holy scrolls, covered by an exquisite white cloth covered in gold embroidery. I cannot claim to have followed the Hebrew or join in the singing or prayers, but it was a pleasure to be there alongside Joe.
The photos show the meeting house with the Sukkah shelter, Joe in his Kippot and Rabbi Leah holding the Lulav before shaking it in every direction, symbolising God’s presence as being everywhere. The Lulav is a bouquet of a single palm leaf, two willow branches and three myrtle branches, held together with woven leaves. We then shared bread and wine symbolising the bounty of the vine and the earth. My thanks to the Norwich Liberal Jewish Community for their kind invitation.