This year, Jewish Family Service helped to facilitate two programs to bring the joy and celebration of Sukkot to older adults in the Lehigh Valley.
Allentown resident and community member extraordinaire Cooky Notis hosted Country Meadows residents at her house on Sept. 26 and Atria residents on Sept. 27, inviting them into the sukkah to enjoy fresh, seasonal food. She and her husband prepared noodle kugel, bagels and homemade lox, fresh vegetables from their garden and a fruit salad for the residents to enjoy. Her friend Donna Black assisted JFS Volunteer Coordinator Chelsea Karp with preparation and setup.
After a brief introduction to the holiday from Notis, Cantor Ellen Sussman from Temple Shirat Shalom took some time to tell holiday stories and share fun facts with the residents before leading them in the blessings of sitting in the sukkah and shaking the lulav. She then helped each person shake the lulav and etrog together as they fulfilled this important holiday mitzvah..
The following day, Rabbi Michael Singer invited Congregation Brith Sholom congregants and older adults in Bethlehem and Easton to celebrate Sukkot at Brith Sholom. The residents were brought over to the synagogue by volunteer drivers trained by JFS.
While enjoying fruit, cookies and drinks, attendees learned about Sukkot from Singer, who told Torah stories in a lively way. One particularly meaningful moment was when he brought out etrogs that were between 5 and 15 years old, making the point that they are still valuable no matter what age they reach. Everyone then brainstormed fruits to be grateful for and shook the lulav and etrog. The afternoon ended with time to schmooze and enjoy with friends.