20 September 2010

The Jews and the Chinese: Reaching for the Moon

The Jews and the Chinese: Reaching for the Moon, by Michele Kriegman [source: Moment 10 (1995): 32-33]

Every autumn since my marriage to an ethnic Chinese man, I had celebrated the holiday of the 5,000-year-old culture whose people gather on the 15th of Tishri to reenact an important historic event while enjoying the harvest moon. But although the 15th of Tishri is the first day of Sukkot, these people are not Jewish and the holiday celebrated is not Sukkot. It is the Chinese Moon Festival, or Mid-Autumn Festival, that is celebrated throughout the sphere of Chinese cultural influence, from Vietnam to Japan. Not having grown up in a family of Sukkot-celebrators, it took several years before I realized that the Asian holiday coincided with a holiday of my own people. I have found that selectively borrowing from the Moon Festival can draw us back to the agricultural roots of Sukkot, to appreciate better the Creator of nature, and fulfill our need for connection with other peoples. But juxtaposing these two different full-moon holidays also confirms for me the distinctiveness of the Jewish people and our ethical mission
Link: The Jews and the Chinese: Reaching for the Moon