Sketching Out Blog: Sketches of art, watercolor, photos, recipes, books, interviews, Jewish topics, and Highland Park, New Jersey

Jewish Holidays and Nature

Gerber daisy in front of our house

It is Jewish holiday season, and ideally, I would be writing a lovely post about how the Jewish holidays are related to the seasons. In reality, I feel I am constantly preparing for the next holiday (in between having more than plenty of web work). The flower above is one of the gerber daisies my daughter gave me for Mother’s Day (with my husband’s help), and I have managed to keep it alive for the whole summer. Yay, me.

The upcoming holiday this week is called Sukkot, and we do indeed interact with nature. Here is the little booth called a sukkah that we eat meals in for seven days. We cover the top of the sukkah with light natural material called schach, and through this natural material we can sometimes see stars at night. Some people actually sleep in their sukkah.

sukkah door
Here are some of the decorations inside our sukkah. This is from last year – on Wednesday, it will be a mad rush to finish cooking and decorate the sukkah. In New Jersey, it often rains, so we don’t want to decorate too early. Hard enough to keep the decorations going.

This was our old sukkah, that we no longer have. It took too long to put up, so my husband gave it away. We now have a pre-fab sukkah, but I can’t paint the walls. I have to decorate with this velcro tape. I don’t enjoy that as much.

As this post is related to nature, here are some not yet shared nature photos from Israel:
rocks on the top of Mount Meiron
Those are rocks on the top of Mount Meiron. Learn about my hike on Mount Meiron.

pink flowers on Meiron
Love these delicate pink flowers from Mount Meiron. No idea what they are. Any guesses? Update: might be a bindweed – convolvolus oleifolius.

bright red trees in front of Tel Aviv Museum
These trees had bright red blooms in front of the Tel Aviv Museum last May. Any guesses? Flame tree (Delonix regia)? Seems quite similar to the red trees in this Tel Aviv image. Tel Aviv in late May probably has a similar climate to southern California (maybe warmer and more humid).

Getting back to Jewish holidays and nature, the holidays follow the lunar calendar. So the moon is important. Tonight my daughter noticed the moon looked quite full, but it’s not quite the 15th of the month. It’s 13 Tishrei, so I suppose that is close. This year Thanksgiving and Chanukah will coincide, but according to this post, it will not happen again until … year 79,811. Will you be around to celebrate?

For more Nature Notes:
Nature Notes

Batya says

Lovely pictures, I hope the weather holds out and rain doesn't mess up your succah.

Leora says

Well, we are used to fluctuating weather in New Jersey. For me, I just can't stand the heat. If it rains, we at least have an excuse to go inside. Doesn't seem too hot in the past few days. But rain may be likely.

Carver says

Beautiful shots and an interesting post. I like the way nature and religious holidays are linked.

Leora says

I wish I had more time to spend outdoors! At least, if the weather is nice, we will enjoy time in the sukkah later this week.

craftygreenpoet says

I like the sukkah, it looks a nice place to spend time!

Is the lovely pink flower possibly some sort of bindweed?

Leora says

Bindweed - seems likely. The Latin name is Convolvulaceae. I found this page with a similar flower:
Convolvolus oleifolius

Mrs. S. says

Kol hakavod for keeping that flower alive all summer! It probably wouldn't have done so well if I was the one who was responsible for its care! ;-)

Leora says

And here I was hoping you would have something to clever to say relating the current Jewish holidays with nature. My mind drew a blank other than the sukkah. But the lulav, etrog, hadassim and aravot are from nature as well. Thought of that after publishing, although as I didn't have anything clever to say on this topic, the post is fine as is.

My daughter wants the gerber daisy plant to survive the winter, too. Uh, oh.

Karen says

What an interesting post!

Leora says

Glad you thought so!

Eileen says

Sounds like the holidays are a busy time, I hope you have time to enjoy them also. Love the photos, the daisy is one of my favorite flowers. The Sukkot holiday sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing, have a happy week!

Leora says

Eileen, yes, busy, busy, busy! I do tend to relax after I light the candles for the holiday or for Shabbat - it's my time to unwind and not think about what needs to get done next. We did invite company for the first two meals, so I will be busy making sure everything is set up and ready. I enjoy when we finally sit down to the meal. Then too soon, of course, it's over.

Ramblingwoods says

You are so busy..... I love learning about different traditions... And I do remember your posts from past years. I remember the decorations.... The gerbers love direct sun and not to be too wet. I have the perfect place for them in the front yard, but I don't think you can keep them over the winter. You can get a new one next year... Lol... Thank you for taking time to link into Nature Notes this week... Michelle

Leora says

Actually, I read a post on how to keep Gerber daisies over the winter. They are already in a pot, so that helps. I'll keep them in the basement, though I'm afraid that won't be enough light. What can you do.

Nature Notes is one of the ways I relax!

Lorri says

What lovely photograph. I love the vibrancy of the daisy's color.

Thank you for sharing your sukkah photos with us.

I love how sukkot takes us back to nature, and begs us to reflect on our connection to earth, sky, the harvest season, etc.

Chag Sameach!


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