- Sha-Ba-Bim-Bam tomorrow at 11 for ages 5 and under and their sibs - and parents. Music, fun, and lunch! Also Sukkot services and children's programs on Monday (followed by Pizza in the Hut).
- A reminder that our office is closed on Mon and Tues for the holiday.
- If you haven't already taken a look at our Jewish Heritage Tour of Eastern Europe set for next July, check out the itinerary and other details and take advantage of our early bird discount, which is good until the end of October.
- Advance sign up has been excellent for our adult ed series with JTS, "The Ethical Life". Sign up now through our education office, (203) 322-6901, ext. 305.
- We are expecting a really nice crowd for our first Shababimbom event for preschoolers and parents, next Shabbat morning at 11. (See the flyer here)
- Mark your calendars for the Hoffman Lecture on October 27: Zero-Sum Empathy: What I Learned Covering Israel and the Palestinians, featuring Jodi Rudoren, deputy international editor of The New York Times.
- Come to the Sukkah Hop - next door at my sukkah on Sun. Oct. 23, from 12 - 1:30 PM
But the reason the etrog captures the attention is that it fits in so nicely with the festival, with its sweet, citrony smell, its irresistibly bumpy surface and its round shape.
We Jews are big on round things. Round foods, like the holiday challah, are omnipresent at this time of year. And on Sukkot, we circle the sanctuary daily (except for Shabbat), recalling the grand processions of ancient temple days. We wave the lulav-etrog combo in all directions as well, a circle extending from east to south to west to north and back again, with up and down thrown in for good measure. On Simhat Torah next week, we'll join in huge Hora circles dancing around the sacred scrolls.
At this time of year, we are constantly attuned to the circles of life, the cycles of the ever-changing seasons. This weekend, we'll be going from heat to AC to heat and back again. The baseball season ends and the trees change colors dramatically. The wild weather shifts bring us from the summer muggies to cold fall deluges in no time.
One of the legendary figures of the Talmud was Honi the Circle Drawer. As Micha Oppenheimer describes, "Honi's relationship with God is so direct and encompassing it is as if nothing else matters: when he draws a circle around himself, it is as if he had captured God in that circle, grasped by His heartstrings."
As we huddle together in our sukkahs this week, those circles will warm us. An embrace is a circle made by our arms. And as we rejoice in fall's dynamism and beauty, we realize that life is like the surface of the etrog, alternately bumpy and smooth, but invariably leading us back to where we began.