Third-year dental student, Herschel Ungar, organized and planned a special lunchtime observance of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot, for classmates, faculty and staff at the School of Dentistry. He recounts the details of the event and reminds us the importance of understanding and celebrating the diversities among us.
Sukkot is a festive Jewish holiday that commemorates God protecting the Jewish people in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. Jews around the globe leave the protection and comfort of their homes and venture into the sukkah—temporary hut—as a reminder that we are all at the mercy of our Creator. This special holiday coincides mere days after the more solemn Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.
Rabbi Yisroel Pinson of ChabaD of Greater Downtown Detroit visited the School of Dentistry on Sept. 27 to celebrate Sukkot over food and tradition. Guests had a special opportunity to make a blessing by shaking the lulav and etrog—the distinct fruit and plants of Sukkot which symbolize the variety of people who gather for the holiday. ChabaD brought a delicious homemade lunch of grilled chicken with roasted vegetables, along with a kale pumpkin seed salad.
While guests enjoyed lunch, Rabbi Pinson spoke about the origins of the holiday, “Sukkot, although being a Jewish holiday, is actually a holiday for everyone—Jews and non-Jews alike—to connect and get closer with God.”
Rabbi Pinson also talked about Shemini Atzeret, the final day of Sukkot, when we are tasked with nothing but to spend time with family and friends, a day where God yearns for one last day with us after a busy month of holidays.
“I’m really impressed at how ChabaD engages so many different Jews around Detroit with so many different religious backgrounds,” said first-year dental student Jay Wayntraub. “I’m definitely looking forward to the next event.”
After lunch, the group visited ChabaD’s mobile sukkah for a homemade honey cake and cookie dessert.
We are thankful for Rabbi Pinson’s visit and the lunchtime gathering with good company to celebrate this special and important Jewish holiday..