Sukkot Journal, Day 1

Where are you spending Sukkot?

Yesterday many of our families arrived at Amicalola State Park in north Georgia. Many will spend the whole week. Sixteen families in all are here, plus many coming for Shabbat service in the park. And some guests from all over have called to say they’re dropping in.

Honestly, last night we all barely made it in getting set up before sundown. We were all exhausted. Setting up tents (some are in cabins), setting up the giant Sukkah (pix coming tomorrow), setting up the communal fire and tiki torches, hanging lights on the Sukkah and decorations . . . tiring, but worth it.

The real joy begins at night with dinner and sitting up past midnight around the fire. We’re not that serious a bunch, but fun-loving. Activities of a more spiritual and communal learning nature will commence today. Enjoy some more photos:


About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
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7 Responses to Sukkot Journal, Day 1

  1. Hey, would you like to trade locales? Up here in Minnesota it’s cold, gray and rainy! :-)

  2. Anonymous says:

    Derek wrote of setting up a “ommunal fire and tiki torches” that his followers burnt past midnight on the Jewish Festival of Booths.

    Jewish law forbids kindling even a small flame on the Festival, let alone a bonfire. Consequently, Derek’s method of observing the Jewish holiday contrasts sharply with the normative Jewish custom.

    No one should choose which religion to follow, or which religious leader to believe, based on the strength of an online comment like this one. But I do hope to raise a question in your mind about Derek’s simultaneous claim to be teaching Judaism to you with his engagement in ritual practices that are so foreign to anything in the Jewish tradition.

    Check it out. Ask a real rabbi about the things Derek has taught you, about Jesus and about campfires on Sukkos. If you really do care about maintaining a connection with the Jewish tradition, then find out if what Derek is teaching you accomplishes that objective or not. Ask your local Orthodox rabbi. What have you got to lose?

  3. tripwire45 says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    Derek and I don’t always see eye-to-eye, but in reviewing your comment, it seems like you’re more interested in “gunning” for him than expressing your dedication to upholding the Sukkot traditions. In this season of unity and good will, is this the best you can do?

    Signed, James

    • Anonymous says:


      Derek is a gentile Christian missionary who calls himself a Jewish rabbi. Stating that fact is not “gunning”.

      I’m touched that you care so much about Jewish unity and goodwill.

      • tripwire45 says:

        Actually, I care so much about unity and goodwill, it doesn’t have to be just Jewish. We live in one world and there is one God. For me, that’s a good place to start.

      • Anonymous says:


        I’m with you on the multicultural kumbaya. But are you with me in expecting that such a scenario is contingent on the precondition that Christian missionaries respect that Jews have their own religion? Or is your vision of unity and goodwill one in which the missionaries ride roughshod over the Jewish people and the Jews turn their other cheeks?

  4. Anonymous:

    Are you a Karaite? They used to sit in the dark on Shabbat, arguing that you could not have a fire on Shabbat.

    BUT . . . in the religion you claim to follow and wish you which to be a teacher of, you simply kindle the fire before Shabbat begins. You know, we have a little prayer for that on Erev Yom Tov and Erev Shabbat?


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