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Congregation Beth El

Special Sukkot Message

It was an honor to usher in the new year of 577 6 with you.  Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur were full of light, meaning, and spirit.
And now it's time to head outside for Sukkot!  There are so many incredibly exciting and deep aspects to this holiday--welcoming guests, pondering the fragility of nature and of our lives, and praying for enough rain during the upcoming rainy season in Israel, to name just a few.  You'll find below some details and traditions to help you get into the celebration--blessings for entering and dwelling in the sukkah, welcoming Ushpizin (mythical guests), shaking the lulav, and candlelighting for Sukkot.
A few quick holiday service time reminders:
Monday, 9:15am Service, 10:00am Youth Service
Tuesday, 9:15am Service
Wednesday - Friday, 8:00am Minyan with Lulav & Hallel
Sunday, 9:00am Hoshana Rabbah service--last chance to wave the lulav!
Be sure to visit for complete service times and other Sukkot activities throughout the week, as well as the schedule for Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah next week.
I look forward to spending this next holiday together in celebration.
Rabbi Ita Paskind
Dwelling in the Sukkah
During the week of Sukkot, we have the opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in the Sukkah-eating there, relaxing there, even sleeping there (if one desires).  Please note that  if the weather makes it too uncomfortable, it's fine to move indoors.  When entering the sukkah, and especially at the beginning of a meal, we recite the following bracha:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם,
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְותָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לֵישֵׁב בַּסֻּכָּה.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu leisheiv basukkah.
On the first 2 nights of the holiday, we pay special attention to the order of the brachot at the start of the evening meals:
  • On the 1st night, we recite the festival kiddush, then the bracha for sitting in the sukkah (above), followed by Shehecheyanu.
  • On the 2nd night, we recite the festival kiddush, then Shehecheyanu, followed by the bracha for sitting in the sukkah (above). 
Welcoming Special Guests (Ushpizin)
Sukkot is a time for welcoming guests of all kinds into the Sukkah. We celebrate with family and friends, and many observe the tradition of "inviting" biblical figures into the Sukkah to celebrate the holiday. This Kabbalistic custom-that these revered biblical figures join the righteous in the sukkah on Sukkot-dates back to 13th-century Spain. Each of the seven nights of Sukkot has its honored guests:
1st night
Abraham & Sarah
2nd night
Isaac & Rebecca
3rd night
Jacob & Leah
4th night
Joseph & Rachel
5th night
Moses & Miriam
6th night
Aaron & Deborah
7th night
David & Ruth
Each night, the guests are invited in before kiddush and/or HaMotzi. 
Shaking the Lulav 
We wave the lulav, etrog, myrtle, and willow as part of the Shacharit (morning) service each day of Sukkot (other than Shabbat). Some also have the custom of waving them in all 6 directions in their sukkah before coming to the synagogue.  Be sure to join us for yom tovon Monday and Tuesday, and then at morning minyan Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 8:00am, and Sunday at 9:00am.  We have several lulavim for communal use.
Preparation of a Flame for Sukkot
We do not light a fire on Sukkot, but we are permitted to use an existing flame from a yahrtzeit candle for cooking or other permitted purposes.
To enable us to light candles for the second day of Sukkot, we use a flame that was lit on Sunday, before the holiday, that continues to burn until candlelighting time  on Monday evening.
There are several options:
  1. A pilot light on a gas range (not a gas range with an electronic starter)
  2. A large yahrtzeit candle that burns for more than 48 hours
  3. 2 25-hour yahrtzeit candles. You may transfer the flame from one to the other when the first is almost gone and then use the 2nd to light Shabbat candles on Friday night.
Candle Lighting
Sukkot candles are lit in the sukkah, safety conditions permitting.

On the 1st night of Sukkot, candles are lit 18 minutes before sunset (this year it's 6:25pm) with both the bracha for yom tov candles as well as shehecheyanu.

On the 2nd night of Sukkot, wait to light candles until the first day has ended completely - 7:23pm this year - and then transfer a flame (light a match from your existing flame, then let it burn out instead of blowing out the flame).  Recite both brachot as you did on the first night.


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Exciting Upcoming Events

Welcome in the New Year with Educational and Social Events at Beth El

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News and Updates

Rabbi Paskind Featured In The Norwalk Hour

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Rabbi Paskind Featured in the Jewish Ledger


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Welcome to Beth El-Norwalk

Your Home for Meaningful Jewish Prayer, Learning and Living in Central Fairfield County

Friday night services hit a high note 
Haven't been to Friday night services in a while? You may want to change your mind.
Beginning on Friday August 7, the congregation welcomes the Shabbat Bride by singing L'cha Dodi to the joyous sound of Rabbi Paskind's guitar before lighting the candles. It is moving, participatory, and beautiful. We know the bride is smiling - as is the congregation.
Join your friends at Beth El this coming Friday (and every Friday) at 6:30. Bask in the warmth of music and friendship as we bid each other Shabbat Shalom.


Under the leadership of Rabbi Ita Paskind, Beth El-Norwalk is a growing, vibrant community that provides its membership with spiritual, educational and social nourishment through a commitment to Conservative Judaism. We are a house of gathering and study with dynamic programming for all ages. Join our members from throughout Fairfield County for Shabbat, Holidays, quality programming and an inspiring connection to Jewish life.


If you're a member who wants to be more involved or a visitor who would like to know more, please reach out to our President, Rabbi Paskind, the Membership Chair or the Office.



Tue, 6 October 2015 23 Tishrei 5776