Celebrating Sukkot 5784

CEO Adrienne Green, M.D. addressed the intergenerational crowd of 60 people at our Sukkot celebration on Sunday, October 1.

Hello everyone, thank you so much for coming to today’s Sukkot gathering. Our wonderful sukkah was decorated by our residents and students from the Brandeis School of San Francisco. They did a fantastic job bringing it to life, and I invite you to add to it if you haven’t already.  

On Yom Kippur our Rabbi talked about community and it’s beautiful to see our community coming together.  We have with us here today our residents, families, staff, board members and other friends and supporters of the San Francisco Campus for Jewish Living.  After several years without community events like this, I can think of a better way to celebrate our community than under this sukkah to signify the beginning of a new season and a chance to start anew. There is much to appreciate about Sukkot, from its connection with nature to its symbolism of transience. After seven days, this temporary dwelling will be taken down—a reminder that Sukkot is about recognizing the places of fragility in our lives. When I look at the sukkah, I think of our residents and patients who know this better than anyone else.  

Although the holiday’s name is derived from the Hebrew word “sukkah,” or “covering”, there is another Hebrew word that shares the same root: “perception.” It’s no coincidence that when we spend time in the sukkah, we allow ourselves the opportunity to think about things differently.  

My own perspective and thinking has certainly changed over the last two and a half months as I’ve settled into my new role as CEO. I have always held SFCJL in high regard but I now have a new respect for the care that is provided here and feel very privileged to be a part of this organization.  In many ways there couldn’t be a more perfect job for me, as a physician leader, as a member of our Jewish community, and as someone who cares deeply about our elderly patients and our incredible senior care providers.  Every day I have the privilege of observing our Jewish values in action. I know that all of you share these values—and I am grateful for the opportunity to be together this afternoon.   

I want to say a special thank you to the families of our residents who brought their loved ones here today, to celebrate the holiday in community under the sukkah. We are so glad you are here. 

Now, I’d like to introduce Rabbi Debora Kohn, who will lead us in reciting blessings for Sukkot. Rabbi Kohn will be joined by Frank resident Michael Thaler, who will blow the shofar. Following the blessings and rituals, there will  be time to write wishes for the community and to participate in our rock decorating activity, which represents the joyful, lasting memories of our loved ones. The rocks will be added to our Memorial Rock Garden, inspired by the Jewish tradition of placing stones on gravesites.