Everyone wants to go home. Everyone wants to be somewhere she or he belongs. But getting home is not always easy. Geography, money, people, and time can all make the journey home difficult. Then there is the challenge of maintaining a home once it has been found.
Sukkot, celebrated this week in the homestretch of the High Holy Days, is a Jewish celebration of home in its most transient form. We build booths with roofs thin enough to see the stars through them, replicating the temporary dwellings of the Israelites on their 40-year trek in the desert from Egypt to the Promised Land. We sit and eat and snooze and sing in shotgun shacks for seven days: home sweet home while life—just like the weather outside— is as impermanent as can be.
One of our favorite phrases about JCCs at JCC Association is There’s something about this place®. Come on in and make yourself at home. Explore the facilities and programs, meet the people and make these places and spaces your own, because there really is something special here. In terms recently affirmed by our friends at the Union for Reform Judaism, we are inspired by the “audacious hospitality” of Abraham and Sarah— fittingly the first mythic guests or ushpizin in the Sukkot cycle— who teach what it means to be such welcoming hosts, who can make any wayward traveler feel at home. We think of the ways we invite people into Jewish space— people of different backgrounds, beliefs, and interests. We think about home in the most urgent sense alongside colleagues at HIAS (formerly the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), who suggest ways of being of use in an era when so many people driven from their homes by war and political disruption seek respite.
There is no place like home, and one of the highest Jewish values—a religious tenet and a hard lesson of a history of wandering—is to ensure that everyone in our communities should have one.
Sounding Board offers a gem for homebodies during a festival that commands us to be joyous even in temporary homes. Step inside and take a load off and listen to “Darling Be Home Soon,” originally recorded by the Lovin’ Spoonful, but mastered by Joe Cocker. It’s one of our favorite tunes and we couldn’t wait an extra minute to share it with you.