Today was building day for about 20 members of the Groton Interfaith Council, who constructed the group’s sukkah alongside First Parish Church this afternoon, in preparation for Sukkot, a week-long harvest festival that follows the solemn Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.
The sukkah is intended to be representative of a temporary shelter roofed with plant material that the Israelites dwelt in during their 40 years of travel in the desert after leaving Egypt. The stars should be visible through the roof.
On Sunday, September 30, the council will hold an inter-denominational ceremony at 4:00 p.m. in the sukkah, explaining its significance and symbolism. It will include the Lulav and Etrog.
“One of the observances during Sukkot is called the Four Species, or the Lulav and Etrog,” Donna Nowak, a member of the council, explained. “The etrog is a citrus fruit similar to a lemon native to Israel. In English, it is called a citron. The Lulav is a bound palm branch, two willow branches, and three myrtle branches. With these four species in hand, a blessing is recited while they are waved in the six directions of north, south, east, west, up and down. This symbolized the fact that God is everywhere.”
The ceremony is free and open to the public. The church is located at the corner of Main Street and Lowell Road in Groton (the intersection of State Routes 119 and 40).