Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

Happy Spook’ot!

Posted by Oyster on October 31, 2006

ChallahWeen Sarah lefton

Pagan rituals, young Jews partying on a Jewish cemetery, and Gene Wilder praying with Tallit and Tefilin, oh my!

[UPDATE: Added the kipah-wearing ‘Jew-o-Lantern’ pic from Sarah‘s post on JewSchool. 🙂 ]

So what did I do tonight? Trick or Treat? Costume party? Nope, I studied Torah with some Jews. Just to rub it in. Sorry to break some hearts out there, but Halloween is a pagan holiday. It’s been denounced by American rabbis as being Avodah Zarah (idol worship). Its generally another case of a hollow(een?) American tradition that sadly eclipses Jewish holidays, some of which trump these ‘secular’ holidays in terms of significance, deep meaning, and ritual. For example, some people say that Sukkot and Purim put together easily satisfies all of a child’s desires for dressing up in costumes, going from door to door (giving Mishloakh Ma’not gift baskets on Purim), decorating with harvest vegetables (beautifying the Sukkah), etc.

Yet there’s something weird about the confluence of the Jewish holiday Sukkot (which often lands in October) and Halloween. There’s a mystical component of Sukkot, where on every day you welcome into your Sukkah a different host of spirits of your ancestors, both ancient and recent. And it is traditional to invite corporeal guests, or ‘Ushpizin’, to rejoice with you in the Sukkah as well. Oh yeah, and ‘Ushpizin’ is also the name of this delightful Israeli film that came out a year ago. 🙂

And on to the Emanu-El Young Adult Community‘s “Spook’ot” party this Sukkot. Read on for pictures and video!

The Emanu-El Young Adult Community (YAC) holds this annual event in Dolores Park, San Francisco called “Spook’ot“, which draws the parallels between Halloween and Sukkot. Why there? Well, it turns out that Dolores Park used to be the a Jewish cemetery. It was later relocated. Now you see the full spooky implications?? It was held this year on Sunday, October 8th (3rd day of Sukkot). The event included food, a Jewish movie projected onto a screen, a live Jewish band, a Sukkah, lulav & etrog (accompanied by a rabbinical intern to learn you something fierce), pictures of ancestors hanging from the Sukkah, and people from the Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society to help introduce people into exploring their Jewish roots. Oh yeah, and throngs of young Jews.

This is a video clip of people dancing to the Klezmer / Salsa band ”Meshuggenismo!“. You can’t really see anyone dancing, but the music was great!

Click on the picture of smiling Oyster and Maya-da-Bee for more pics! Featuring cool people that I ran into, Keifeng (Chinese) Jews, Polish yeshivas, and a pretty Sukkah. Enjoy!
Oyster and Maya-da-Bee


One Response to “Happy Spook’ot!”

  1. […] the San Francisco, with the help of a few more organizations. Check out Oyster’s account of Spook’ot 2006. Head on over the jump for all the details of this years […]

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