Upcoming Jewish festival aims to celebrate unity and diversity

A new week-long celebration will take place in downtown Kingston this fall. “Sukkah in the Square” will celebrate the Jewish Festival of Sukkot and aims to raise awareness of the Jewish community in Kingston, its history, and traditions, while fostering a spirit of unity, inclusivity, and support for neighbours in need.

The event will take place from Friday, Sept. 29, to Friday, Oct. 6, 2023, in Springer Market Square behind Kingston City Hall.

In a media release, the Kingston Jewish Council explained that a Sukkah is a temporary outdoor structure, symbolizing the shelters used by ancestors during their journey through the desert after leaving Egypt. The Jewish Festival of Sukkot, also known as the “Feast of Tabernacles,” holds deep significance in Jewish tradition, representing unity, gratitude, and appreciation for nature and community. The Kingston Sukkah décor features artist, educator, and researcher, Hadassah Danit O’Reilly.

According to the release, “Sukkah in the Square” will showcase a diverse range of events suitable for all ages, including traditional folk dancing, a fiddle troupe, presentations, sing-along, study, storytelling, and arts and crafts. The event will showcase the talent of Toronto-based Jewish artist Rita Winkler whose pieces reflect the essence of Jewish life and cultural identity. Rita will also be in attendance, painting in the Sukkah at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2023.

In addition to celebrating Jewish heritage, “Sukkah in the Square” embraces the Jewish principle of Tzedakah, which encompasses both charity and justice. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation occurs on September 30, and its observance will be acknowledged at the event. Organizers said that each day, they will shed light on issues of food and housing insecurity by highlighting a different local charity. This initiative aims to encourage attendees to support neighbours in need and strengthen our community’s fabric.

“We are thrilled to invite everyone to join us for ‘Sukkah in the Square,’ where we will celebrate our cultural heritage, promote unity, and give back to the community,” said Ruth Fuller, member of the organizing committee. “Through the principle of Tzedakah, we hope to raise awareness of important issues facing our
neighbours and inspire acts of kindness and justice.”

The event is free of charge and open to all members of the Kingston community, regardless of background or beliefs. In the release, the Kingston Jewish Council extends a warm invitation to local dignitaries, community leaders, and residents to join them in this week-long celebration of unity and diversity.

Visit the “Sukkah in the Square” website for more information.

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