It has become a tradition among some Jews to designate one chair in the sukkahLit. hut or booth A temporary hut constructed outdoors for use during Sukkot, the autumn harvest festival. Many Jews observe the mitzvah of living in the Sukkah for the week of Sukkot, including taking their meals and sleeping in the Sukkah. in honor of the ushpizinLit. Guests (Aramaic) Biblical "guests" invited into the sukkah on each of the seven nights of the holiday. While the traditional ushpizin were all male, a new custom has been created, inviting female guests (ushpizot) as well. The seven ushpizin are Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. The seven female ushpizot are Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Abigail, and Esther., symbolic guests we “invite” to grace our dwelling with their holy presence.
We have left a chair empty among us tonight. It stands as a stark symbol of those women within our own community who cannot be with us except in spirit. They are the Jewish women who are silenced, who are ashamed or afraid to speak about the abuse they experience at the hands or the lips of a loved one. These women are out friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. We run into each other in the supermarket, we coordinate car pool schedules, we davenLit. Pray (Yiddish) Particularly, praying in a traditional manner, mouthing the words of the prayer softly while swaying. together and share our simchasA happy occasion. Usually describes a celebration for a life cycle event (birth, wedding, etc.). and holidays. You will not recognize them because they are just like you.
It is our sorrow that they feel they must remain hidden and anonymous. Yet tonight we honor them and we invite them to dwell among us, if only symbolically. We hope they know that CHANA is here to help when they are ready to come forth from the shadow of abuse