The holiday of Sukkot – which starts tonight – commemorates the temporary dwellings in which the Israelites lived during their wanderings in the desert, as well as the end of the harvest season in the Land of Israel.
The central commandments of the holiday are being happy, spending time in temporary dwellings known as "sukkot" (plural of "sukkah"), and waving four special species of plants together ("Arba'at HaMinim") as part of a ritual that goes back thousands of years.
Remarkably, across continents and centuries these core holiday practices have remained, every year connecting Jewish communities across the globe to one another, to a shared history, and to the Land of Israel.
This photo shows Jews in Bukhara in central Asia inside their sukkah, ca. 1900. The man on the right is holding the four species.
Happy Sukkot from Bukhara!
[Image: "Juifs de Bokhara" from the Folklore Research Center, Hebrew University of Jerusalem; available via the National Library of Israel Digital Collection: https://tinyurl.com/bukharan-sukkot-lbh]
President Trump announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates would establish “full normalization of relations” and that in exchange Israel would forgo for now “declaring sovereignty” over occupied West Bank territory.