Why do we have to leave our home to find a home, and then leave again? I think is is a profoundly Jewish question, not just because we are wanderers, a people destined to live without a true home for close to two thousand years while somehow managing to hold on to our identity, but also because the Jewish sacred calendar—the sacred year—embodies the essential paradox of this homeward journey. Nowhere is this more evident than during the months surrounding the High Holidays, that quarter of the year that begins in midsummer with the observance of Tisha B’Av—the day when we mourn the destruction of the Temple—then moves through the High Holidays themselves, a period of intense self-revelation and purification, and ends with Sukkot, the time of our great rejoicing, when we erect a house that is not really a house, a home that is not really a home, a time when we seem to have come to the end of a journey only to begin it again.
R. Alan Lew, This Is Real & You Are Completely Unprepared
This Sukkot, let’s remember that it’s important to get cozy in the wilderness. Reliving the wandering honors extended processes of transformation, and reminds us that liberation struggles don’t end when you cross the sea. We explore the nature of the obviously temporary to remind us that, in fact, everything is temporary — which means that everything can be different.
“Spiritual but not religious.” So many Americans describe their belief system this way that pollsters now give the phrase its own category on questionnaires. In the 2012 survey by the Pew Religion and Public Life Project, nearly a fifth of those polled said that they were not religiously affiliated — and nearly 37 percent of that group said they were “spiritual” but not “religious.” It was 7 percent of all Americans, a bigger group than atheists, and way bigger than Jews, Muslims or Episcopalians.
Not exactly surprising, but still makes for some fascinating reading.