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Jewish festival marks harvest, thanksgiving

ST. PETERSBURG

The children of Congregation B'nai Israel's Pauline Rivkind Preschool are celebrating Sukkot, the Jewish festival of harvest and thanksgiving that began at sundown last Friday and will end this Friday.

They are learning that Sukkot is a time brimming with new fruits and vegetables, said preschool director Bonnie Halprin.

The children have built versions of the sukkah, which symbolizes the temporary shelters or huts used by Moses and the people of Israel during their 40 years in the desert, in their classrooms. The preschoolers' huts are made of large refrigerator-size boxes.

"They are supposed to be temporary structures and these are definitely temporary,'' Halprin said, adding that the children have decorated the shelters with construction paper and stickers.

Since the roof of the sukkah must be made of organic material, the preschoolers have covered theirs with palm branches.

Additionally, it is considered a mitzvah, or good deed, to eat under the sukkah during the harvest holiday. For that reason, the Pauline Rivkind preschoolers have been gathering under the grown-up sukkah on Congregation B'nai Israel's grounds.

''We'll have our snack in the sukkah every day this week,'' Halprin said.

Jewish festival marks harvest, thanksgiving 10/07/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 10:54am]
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