We are halfway through summer vacation, so it is time to think about Sukkot, if you aren’t doing so already. This year, Sukkot is right on time according to the Jewish calendar but is later in the secular calendar than usual. Sukkot begins on Sunday night, October 9th and ends on Tuesday night, October 18th. This means that it might be chilly in your sukkah, depending on where you are located. Sukkot programs are gaining in popularity and there are many options to choose from, especially in warm locations. Since Sukkot begins on Sunday night, many programs have the option to arrive before Shabbat which means less cooking and a longer vacation.
The perks of joining a Sukkot Program
Sukkot is a long holiday. It is the longest Jewish holiday of the year. Passover is a lot of work but Sukkot is long. Sukkot is seven days and is immediately followed by Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, which are celebrated as two days outside of Israel and one day in Israel. That is a total of nine days, four of them Yom Tov days plus a Shabbat Chol Hamoed. Are you calculating the holiday/Shabbat meals in your head yet? That’s a lot of cooking. This is when you start researching Sukkot programs, now that you have realized how many meals you need to cook. Also, don’t forget that the kids are on vacation so they will be home all week and need to be entertained.
Many Sukkot programs take place at resorts with fabulous amenities. Most of them have pools, spas, gyms and some are on the beach. Some programs include kids programming, entertainment, lectures and shiurim. The program operators ensure that there is a dedicated synagogue for minyan and enough room in the sukkah for everyone to eat. The programs include three meals a day and some offer a 24-hour tearoom. Chol Hamoed is a great opportunity for day trips to explore the area and see the sights. Check out TJT’s full Guide to Sukkot Programs to help you research and find the right program for your Sukkot vacation.
Sukkot Program Destinations
Israel has long been a popular destination for Sukkot vacation. Israel was closed to tourists for Sukkot for the past two years. This year will be the first Sukkot that Israel will be open to tourists since the COVID pandemic began. Many people have had tickets to Israel for Sukkot for the past two years and are planning to come this year. If this summer is any indication, there is sure to be an influx of tourists for Sukkot 2022. Sukkot is one the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, Passover and Shavuot are the other two. Jews are commanded to go up to Jerusalem for the Three Pilgrimage Festivals. Thousands of Jews flock to the Kotel on Chol Hamoed Sukkot and Pesach for the Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing) ceremony.
There are a number of options for Sukkot programs in Europe. Sukkot is a great time to join a program in a country that you would like to explore. Take day trips on Chol Hamoed to see the sights and learn the history of the country. There are several programs to choose from in Italy, some in the north, south and center of the country. You can choose to be by a lake, by a beach or in a private villa. Cyprus and Greece have family-friendly options on the beach with great Chol Hamoed trips and activities. Montenegro, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, has a great program on the waterfront.
Warm Weather Sukkot Vacations
One of the increasingly popular kosher vacation destinations of recent years is Dubai. Since the signing of the Abraham Accords, availability of kosher food and sights to see, Dubai has skyrocketed to the top of the list for many looking for a kosher vacation. Sukkot is a great time to visit Dubai, after the extreme heat of the summer months. Morocco is very popular for Passover vacation and now offers several options for the holiday of Sukkot. These programs at high-end resorts cater to all your needs for a wonderful vacation. Another great option and one a bit closer to home is Cancun, with several programs at resorts on the beach.
DIY Sukkot Program
Chabad of Flagstaff, Arizona offers a bit of a DIY program for Sukkot. Chabad provides the program, including three meals a day, minyan, classes and use of the facility at the JCC. Participants book their own accommodations at a nearby hotel or Airbnb.
As Sukkot programs become more popular, there are more options. There haven’t been many programs the past couple of years because of COVID but Sukkot programs are back for 2022. We saw this with Pesach programs last year and expect even more programs for Passover 2023. Sukkot is a long holiday; the kids are off from school and it’s a great time of year for a family vacation. The weather is pleasant and there are many activities and sights to see anywhere that you choose to go. Whether you go to Europe, Dubai, Morocco, Israel or any other location, it is sure to be a great holiday.