Sukkot is the harvest festival that commemorates the Israelites' wandering the desert following their Exodus from Egypt. The week-long holiday is observed by building and spending time in a sukkah, a temporary outdoor structure, to connect to the harvest season. Along with dwelling in the sukkah, we lift and shake the Lulav (four plant species that include a palm branch, three branches of myrtle, and two willow branches) with an Etrog (a fragrant, yellow or green bumpy citrus fruit).
Connecting Students with Sukkot at UMBC Hillel
At the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), the Hillel sukkah connects the entire campus community. In 2012, their Sukkot theme was "Connect For," and visitors were inspired to play a giant Connect Four game while considering how various connections are made.
UMBC Hillel no longer uses the sukkah as a program – it is now a space to build relationships. The invitation to their Sukkah highlighted several “Connect For” themes: Harvest, Happiness, Social Justice, Species, and Friends. UMBC Hillel created a true Jewish experience by making their sukkah a home away from home for hundreds of students, who eat, sleep, relax and spend time with their friends in the Sukkah.
Shaking it at Maryland Hillel
Maryland Hillel traveled around campus during Sukkot with a luluv and etrog to provide students with the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of the holiday. They inspired students to "shake it" in their own way. Check out the video below: