The Lulav Crisis of 5766

Zaide Reuven’s Esrog Farm interviewed in Florida press on the lulav crisis of 5766.

ST. PETERSBURG – It has always been Louisa Benjamin’s favorite holiday, the eight days that follow soon after Yom Kippur, when Jews gather in temporary outdoor shelters to celebrate the fall harvest and commemorate the Israelites’ journey through the wilderness to the Holy Land.

Sukkot, the festival of thanksgiving, began Monday at sundown. For the second year in a row, the Largo artist, her husband and two young children put up a three-sided shelter in their back yard and festooned it with paper chains, fake fruit, gourds, shells, pictures, and palm and banana leaves. Throughout the holiday, the Benjamins, friends and family will gather under the sukkah for festive meals.

Benjamin said she wants to carry on the traditions with which she grew up. The family built a bigger sukkah this year, 8 by 16 feet.

“I wanted to be able to seat more people,” Benjamin said. “I grew up in Atlanta and growing up, I would always go to my teacher’s home and other friends’ and families’ homes to celebrate.”

It’s a religious obligation to “dwell” in the three-sided outdoor shelter during Sukkot. Another requires the recitation of blessings with four species of plants, which together make up the lulav and etrog. A lulav is made up of palm, willow and myrtle branches. The etrog is a citrus fruit native to Israel. Continue reading “The Lulav Crisis of 5766”