Sukkot comes to the Pentagon, Department of Agriculture

From left: Rabbi Marvin Bash, Chaplain (LTC) Shmuel Felzenberg and Chaplain (COL) Kenneth Williams, the Pentagon chaplain.

From left: Rabbi Marvin Bash, Chaplain (LTC) Shmuel Felzenberg and Chaplain (COL) Kenneth Williams, the Pentagon chaplain.

The Pentagon and Department of Agriculture (USDA) celebrated Sukkot on Oct. 1.

The Pentagon event took place inside the 9/11 Memorial Chapel. Rabbi Marvin Bash, contract rabbi at the Pentagon and rabbi emeritus of Congregation Etz Hayim in Arlington, performed the mitzvah of waving the four species of etrog, lulav, hadas and aravah. Cantor Rachel Rhodes led the musical celebration. Speakers included Chaplain (LTC) Shmuel Felzenberg, training management officer at the Office of the Chief of Chaplains in the Pentagon and Chaplain (COL) Kenneth Williams, the Pentagon chaplain. A day earlier, a sukkah was put up in the Pentagon’s central courtyard.

“Always championing diversity, religious diversity included, the Pentagon once again conducted their annual Sukkot holiday celebration in a meaningful manner,” said Felzenberg. “The observance event which included prayer, song, ritual, a holiday message, along with kosher food, served to appropriately mark this festive holiday occasion.”

The White House and USDA celebrated Sukkot inside the department’s Whitten Building. Participants in the ceremony included USDA Senior Advisor Max Finberg; White House liaison to the Jewish community Matt Nosanchuk; Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue in Bethesda; USDA Natural Resources and Environment Chief of Staff Meryl Harrel; Rachel Laser of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism; Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger Rabbi Erin Glazer, USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services’ Jerry Mande; Jakir Manela of Baltimore’s Pearlstone Center and Rabbi Jack Moline of the Interfaith Alliance.

U.S. Army photos by Destiny Ridguard and Alfredo Barraza
U.S. Department of Agriculture photos by Josh Boxerman

Rabbi Marvin Bash holds up the four species at the Pentagon Sukkot celebration.

Rabbi Marvin Bash holds up the four species at the Pentagon Sukkot celebration.

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue in Bethesda speaks at the USDA Sukkot celebration.

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb of Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Synagogue in Bethesda speaks at the USDA Sukkot celebration.

Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, explains the lulav and etrog as USDA Senior Advisor Max Finberg lookes on.

Rabbi Jack Moline, executive director of Interfaith Alliance, explains the lulav and etrog as USDA Senior Advisor Max Finberg looks on.

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