Shari Beck-Nahman (center) pre-school director of the Klein JCC in Northeast Philadelphia, explains the meaning of the lulav and etrog, symbols of the seven-day Jewish festival of Sukkot to pre-school students Eden Bengera, 3, (left) and Jordyn Gomer, 2, (right) both also of Northeast, while seated in the JCC's Sukkah. The Sukkah structure is symbolic of the 40-year period when the children of Israel wandered in the dessert in temporary shelters. Sukkot is a joyous fall festival also celebrating the bounty of the harvest and is usually accompanied by music, singing and dancing.
Other than bread, we are not instructed to serve any specific dishes during Sukkot. The point of this festival is to celebrate the fall harvest. A wonderful way to connect to nature is to cook with what is in season locally. In Pennsylvania we are blessed with a bountiful fall harvest. Hearty homemade vegetable soups accompanied by an assortment of breads are a wonderful way for your family and guests to warm up during the chilly fall evenings in the sukkah.
You can source your local vegetables by gathering your own crops from your garden, picking vegetables yourself at a farm, being a member of a Community Supported Agriculture group, or shopping at your local farmer's market, coop, or supermarket. Fresh seasonal produce will result in the most flavorful soups.
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