Our neighborhood is not a quiet one. In addition to the Muslims blasting their prayers from nearby villages at all hours (including 4 AM), we have midnight territorial disputes between cats; several neighbors who play the drums (including one whose drum kit is in his room which faces my daughters’ room across the street); a family with no cellphone reception in their house who sit out on their front steps and carry on loud Hebrew conversations at all hours, as well as have grown children who come and go in cars day and night, talking and laughing loudly outside at 3 AM; and another neighbor who has parakeets who screech all hours of the day, and who himself gets up before 6 AM and sometimes spends 15 minutes starting his van that needs a new muffler, power steering, and probably a dozen other things. We used to have the avian Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the ivy outside our house at first light and sunset, but I tore that down a few weeks ago. At least it’s quiet here during those brief periods.
But Sukkot is coming, and that will mean neighborhood noise of another kind altogether. This new noise will be the sound of families sharing meals in their sukkahs, sometimes mere feet from one another. It will be the sound of kiddush (with bypassing neighbors calling “Amen!” at its conclusion), singing, bentshing, and conversation. It will be the clatter of plates, the clinking of glasses and forks. It will be the rustle of the wind as it stirs the walls, and the whisper of palm fronds overhead. It will be the sound of people bedding down at night in their sleeping sukkahs, including my reading Little House in the Big Woods to Beans, Peach and Banana by flashlight in their sleeping bags on the balcony, modern-day settlers reading about settlers of long-ago. It will be the sound of no cars (except the Arab traffic on the Tekoa road and Route 60), no school bells, no garbage trucks, no buses. Just people and the breeze.