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Celebrating Sukkot

September 22, 2021 | Cindy Kuperus

The third grade spent the first full week of school learning about Sukkot: viewing videos, practicing lines, creating artwork, and finally recording a video to lead the school in a celebration of Sukkot.

So what is Sukkot, and why do we celebrate it?

It’s a harvest festival celebrated by Jewish faith communities, commemorating the time that God provided for his people when they were wandering in the wilderness by giving manna to eat and water to drink.

As God’s people today, we remember how God was with us in the past, and we recognize that still today, God gives care and strength to us each new day.

Every student recited lines from Scripture or a prayer. Jason and Eliza read from Leviticus 23:

“Celebrate this as a festival to the Lord for seven days each year. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come; so your descendants will know that I had the Israelites live in temporary shelters when I brought them out of Egypt.”

There were special plants used in the liturgy, and students proclaimed the teaching of each. Then they waved them to the north, south, east, west, to the heavens and the earth – in thanksgiving to God for God’s kindness.

The palm branch’s spine says, “Stand straight and have the courage to follow God.

The myrtle branch says, “Notice the beauty of the world, and see God who lives in this place.”

The willow branch says, “Speak up. Praise God. Speak kindly to those around you.”

The etrog says, “Remember your love for God. Open your heart to love and gladness.”

This couldn’t have happened without the support of our art and music teachers. Mr. Johnson taught us how to use paper to make beautiful chains and branches that together created our “sukkah.” Do you see the sukkah behind your children?

Mrs. Mauldin taught students three songs, and made sure the students were socially distanced when they sang them!  She also recorded the video.

The closing prayer was read by Ms. Tashjian. She poured water and prayed,

“Please save us, Lord. Send us your living water. Lift up your hands! Rejoice in the Lord your God!!”

On Tuesday, the school celebrated and rejoiced in God with a sweet treat – a lollipop.

Your children were incredibly perseverant. They were barely third graders – and they sang, and sang again, read lines, and read lines again – leading to a beautiful worship service. Mr. Martino and Ms. Kuperus rejoice in the Lord our God when we think of how they worked hard to lead.

Perhaps your family will want to use some of the words in our liturgy – or the prayers – to acknowledge the ways God continues to care for us today.

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy Kuperus

Teacher, Grade 3 Mountains Class

Ms. Kuperus attended a small Lutheran grade school and has always been a student in multi-grade classrooms. She became interested in teaching, in fact, when she would assist classmates when the teacher was busy helping others. Her 5th/6th grade teacher, Mrs. Roman, encouraged her to think broadly about the world beyond their small town (population: 500), giving stickers to those who could answer a question from the World News segment from television the night before. She would be thrilled to learn that Ms. Kuperus has taught internationally in Masaya, Nicaragua, and Chengdu,China.

After graduating from Calvin College, Ms. Kuperus taught students in grades two-six for almost 10 years in Kentwood, Michigan. In 1994, Ms. Kuperus sought a teaching position in a school in the Northeast, anywhere but New Jersey. She’s now taught for over 23 years in NEW JERSEY! Two of her former students, Becca Brasser and Sam Martino, are now on staff at MSS.

Ms. Kuperus loves opportunities to travel, interact with the people, and taste the foods of the world. She’s also a person who ‘travels” with the characters in the books she reads!

It’s important to Ms. Kuperus that people’s voices are heard and that their needs for shelter and food are met. To that end, she volunteers for organizations like First Friends and the Sharing Place.

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