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Days of Awe, part III, tenting in the San Miguel desert

By Pat Hirschl

Camping, tenting, making a home in a temporary place, attracts children of all ages. A short-term change of dwelling is a getaway from it all experience that frees us to imagine a simpler time, a more natural life. Children camping out in the backyard in a pup tent dream they are in a jungle surrounded by ferocious beasts and friendly natives.

Days of Awe, Part III, Tenting in the San Miguel Desert
Sukkah decorating party
Sun, Sep 30, 11am
Sukkot celebration
Mon, Oct 1, 9:30am
Quinta Loreto TV Salon
Loreto 15
No charge
Information at

During the holiday week of Sukkot, which begins September 30, Jews build temporary shelters called Sukkot (plural of Sukkah) and eat, drink, and hang out in them to remind themselves of the trek across the Sinai from slavery in Egypt to the Promised Land.

Hospitality is a key virtue for a people with nomadic roots like the Jews, emphasized at Sukkot by inviting friends, neighbors, passersby into the Sukkah to share a meal. Invisible visitors are invited, too—traditionally, the prophets and matriarchs enter unseen to tell their stories.

The Jewish holiday also celebrates the fall harvest, and is a time to reconnect with nature, surrounded with the fresh greenery of the palm roof and the flowers that decorate the space. The roof must allow the stars to peek through, so those tucked inside can contemplate the night sky and smell the fresh citrus hanging on the walls. Readings from the prophets Zechariah and Isaiah remind those celebrating the feast that the world is need of repair, and that peace is our ultimate destination.

Four species of fruits figure in the holiday’s teachings. For example, the etrog, a bumpy, lemony, heart-shaped citron fruit of the hadar tree, is both tasty and sweet smelling. It represents the Jew who both knows Torah and performs good deeds.

The Shalom San Miguel de Allende’s Sukkah was designed and built by Arie Arazi in 2005. Every year, its frame is taken from storage, assembled outside the Quinta Loreto TV Salon, and inhabited for a week by the community and guests.

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