In this Latino LA neighborhood, Jews commemorate an ancient biblical holiday

Religion News Service | 10/18/2019 | Staff
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Shaking the #Lulav in the Boyle Heights community #Sukkah. "YEHI RATZON: May it be Your will, Hashem (Our LORD), My God and the God of my ancestors, that through the fruit of the #Etrog tree, the date-palm branches, twigs of the Myrtle tree, and the Brooke Willows, the letters of your unified Name may become close to one another, that they may become unified in my hand; and to make known that your name is called upon me, that (evil forces) may be fearful of approaching me. And when I wave them, may an abundant outpouring of blessing flow from the wisdom of the Most High to the abode of the tabernacle, to the prepared place of the Holy House of our God. And may the mitzvah of these Four Species be reckoned before You as if I had fulfilled it with all its particulars, roots, and the six hundred and thirteen mitzvot dependant on it. For my intention is to unify the Name of the Holy One, blessed by He, and His Presence, in awe and in love, to unify the Name Yud Hei and Vav Hei in perfect unity, in the name of all Israel; Amen. Blessed is Hashem forever, Amen and Amen." #Sukkot #Jewish #holidays #BoyleHeights #EastLA #EastLosAngeles #barrio #culture #judaism #JewishLA

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LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Corinne Mosh celebrated the first night of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot like never before.

She feasted in a space embellished with decorative Mexican papel picado, alongside a Chicano vocalist singing folk music in Spanish and a Jewish and Mexican-American spiritual leader who casually switched between Spanish, English and Hebrew.

Diaspora - People - World - Mosh

“To me, it speaks to the diaspora of Jewish people all over the world,” said Mosh, 43.

Mosh and about 15 others gathered Sunday (Oct. 13) in Boyle Heights — a working-class Latino neighborhood on the east side of Los Angeles that was once a thriving Jewish enclave — to observe the biblical holiday of Sukkot. This tradition celebrates the harvest and recalls the Israelites’ 40-year journey in the desert after they fled Egypt.

Sukkot - Sunday - Oct - Jews - Spend

During Sukkot, which began Sunday and ends Oct. 20, observant Jews spend time in a sukkah — a temporary outdoor hut that signals the Israelites’ dwellings before they reached the Promised Land. These structures are made out of thatch or branches that can provide shade and protection from the sun.

Mosh and others held their celebration in what is believed to be the first sukkah in Boyle Heights — a community with a strong Chicano and Mexican identity — in more than 30 years.

Shmuel - Gonzales - American - Jewish - Community

Shmuel Gonzales, a Mexican American and Jewish community historian, helped organize the Sunday feast inside the sukkah. Shiny wreaths in violet, gold and red colors hung from side to side. Banners of traditional Mexican tissue paper decorated the shelter’s white walls. Stuffed eggplant, chili peppers filled with meat and dried fruit, and squash stuffed with tomato and tamarind sauce were served for dinner. To keep with tradition, Gonzales shook the “lulav” — a palm branch bundled with myrtle and willow branches — and a yellow citrus fruit called an “etrog.”

The lulav...
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