Growing up, my house was where our extended family celebrated the Jewish holidays. Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah, break fasts and Passover were all opportunities for gathering aunts, uncles and cousins to feast around the dining room table. But not Sukkot.  

I discovered the joys of Sukkot as an adult, building our first ragtag sukkah featuring walls made from hippie tapestries and a roof held together by a collection of old necktiesEach night, we cooked a delicious stew-like creation to enjoy for dinner under the shach (the natural roof of a sukkah through which you should be able to see the stars). It was love at first bite. 

Around here, Sukkot is often the last time we can be outside without worrying about frostbite. It’s a chance to see the stars, be with friends and celebrate (or should I say indulge) the harvest. Living in Boston, I miss our suburban sukkahThe JArts Spotify playlist “Autumn Sweater for Sukkot” can help recapture that feeling of being and appreciating the outdoors in the fall. Consider it your Sukkot soundtrack, including seasonal songs such as:

“Pastures of Plenty” written by Woody Guthrie and performed by Peter, Paul and Mary

While the holiday celebrates the harvest, let’s not forget the hardships that transient farmworkers face. Our favorite vegetarian soups or stews taste so much better when you support the people who make the harvest possible.  

“Make our Garden Grow” by Leonard Bernstein and performed by Grace Griffith

“Candide” is a dark comedy about a simple optimist who believes everything that happens is for the better. However, Candide’s worldview is constantly tested as he is exiled, forced into the army, caught up in the Inquisition, cheated out of a fortune, shipwrecked on a remote island and kept apart from his love, Cunegonde. Miraculously, Candide reunites with her. Now married, he comes to the realization that he can bring about a better world by living simplyin love, and with a garden he hopes to grow.  

“Autumn Sweater” performed by Yo La Tengo

Besides having a great sound, Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley’s band are renowned for years of performing for eight nights of Hanukkah at a Hoboken bar called Maxwell’s. When I hear this song, I imagine myself sitting out in our old sukkah, drinking a glass of wine and hoping I don’t spill any on my favorite sweater.

While the current health crisis may limit your ability to socialize in your sukkah, you can still enjoy the playlist and savor the time (and the meals) you get to enjoy in your sukkah.

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