A special Sukkot celebration was held in the Hebrew speaking Catholic communities in Israel this year. The members of the kehillot met for a day of celebration in Kiryat Yearim.

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This year in our communities a celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) was held on the Saturday of Sukkot, September 25, 2010. About 150 members of the different Hebrew and Russian speaking Catholic communities throughout Israel – from Jerusalem, Beer Sheba, Tel Aviv – Jaffa, Haifa, Latroun, Tiberias and Nazareth - came together in Kiryat Yearim, in the Church of Our Lady Ark of the Covenant of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Apparition.

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The Eucharist was celebrated by Father David, responsible for the communities in Israel, and the other ten priests of the kehillot as well as a few other priests. Benny, our Italian volunteer and Myriam, from the Haifa community, led a small choir that accompanied the mass with magnificent music.

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In his words during the homily, Father David underlined the significance of Sukkot for our communities. The fragility of the "sukkah" (tabernacle) reminds us that we live fragile lives in a desert, just like the Children of Israel in the wilderness but we are called to construct "sukkot" (tabernacles) that are vibrant communities of love and peace. Above us, like the leafy branches of the "sukkah" is the Cross of Christ. However, Sukkot is also the great feast of the ingathering as all go up to Jerusalem in joy at the end of the agricultural year, to give thanks for the blessings of a past year and to pray for the new one. This we, as kehillot are doing today, and the blessings received have been many. Sukkot became the sign of the eschatological ingathering at the End of Days and our kehillot, indeed places where people from many nations, tongues and tribes are gathered together, become signs of the one Sukkah in which we are all gathered - the Church. Sukkot is a feast of joy and we ask for joy in our hearts so that we can fill the world with our joy as followers of the Resurrected Lord.

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Our children brought the gifts to the altar, the bread and wine but also the fruits of the fields and Habib from Beer Sheba made the blessing over the fruits of the past year and the fruits that are still to come in the year ahead.

After the mass, the faithful went out of the church to drink a toast to the new year. They then opened their knapsacks and brought out their picnic lunches and broke up into groups to chatter together and renew friendships. The atmosphere was one of celebration and joy especially for the children who met up again after the summer children's camp.

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At 13.45, everyone gathered again in the church and divided up into four groups that proceeded to pass through four stations animated by different members of the community. At the first station, Paula taught a series of Israeli folk dances. At the second station, Father Apolinary directed a game that brought lots of good spirited laughter. At the third station, Michal developed a game based upon a knowledge of the feasts and special times in Israel. At the fourth station, Benny and Paula taught songs. One and all engaged in the activities, passing from station to station in an atmosphere of joyful celebration, most appropriate for the Feast of Sukkot.

At 15.45, everyone assembled in he church once again to join in a prayer of thanksgiving for this day, for the past year, for all the gifts received and for those that will still come. Benny projected a series of pictures from the children's summer camp, one particular fruit of this past year. The day ended in song and with a final blessing: "Go in the peace and the joy of the Lord!" until we meet again…

Thank you to all who made this wonderful day possible…