“Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord.’”
Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, is an eight-day holiday that brings people from around the world to celebrate the feast in the Land of Israel. Most congregate to Jerusalem, where sukkahs fill the streets; however, this year, the real festivities took place in Poriya Illit, located near Tiberias! From the 16th of October to the 20th, about 200 Holocaust survivors came to Poriya to celebrate Sukkot and fellowship with those who have a serving heart.
Alexander and Cecilia Dietze organized and hosted each event, welcoming volunteers and survivors into their home. Originally from Germany, the Dietze’s began volunteering with Helping Hand Coalition to show the survivors’ love and also ask for forgiveness after the pain their forefathers caused them during the Holocaust.
Collecting palm branches from around the village, Alexander led the volunteers in building a hand-made sukkah. With the view of the Kinneret, Sea of Galilee, to look at, the location was breathtaking. Anyone who passed their house couldn’t help but admire their elegant construction and wish they were invited to the party going on under the palms.
As each group of Holocaust survivors arrived in Poriya, they were warmly welcomed by Alexander and Cecilia and the volunteers from around the world. Taking their places under the stunningly decorated sukkah, the survivors were served with a catered meal and entertained by different varieties of music. Harpists, guitarists, and singers brought smiles to the survivors’ faces as they played the songs they all knew and loved.
“It was a little bit of heaven on earth,” Alexander said as he described the feeling of celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles under the sukkah with the Holocaust survivors.
At the end of three events, the group of survivors was invited to take a boat ride on the Kinneret and watch the sunset. It was the perfect way to end a joyous afternoon.
HHC would like to give a special thanks to all the volunteers, from local and abroad, who helped make each event run smoothly. To the groups of survivors from Karmiel, Narazreth Illit, Safed, Katzrin, and Tiberias, we’re so glad you were able to attend and celebrate this special holiday with us! We’d also like to show our appreciation to the companies from Tiberias Illit that supported this project: Rami Levi, Ganey Ailon Catering Service, and Multiservice!