After these things Jesus was walking in Galilee, for He was unwilling to walk in Judea because the Jews were seeking to kill Him. Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near. --John 7:1-2 (in the NASB translation)Interesting that Zechariah 14 prophesies of a time when all nations will come up to Jerusalem to celebrate this holiday (over the years we've considered this here, and also here and here and here and here). So naturally many are wanting to get started with the celebration early, in anticipation of King Messiah.
After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand. (same verses, in King Jimmy's English)
The New Covenant Scriptures don't subtract from but rather add to the significance of this day; so for Christians, Chag Sukkot should be a wonderful time to celebrate Yeshua (Rev. 7:9-17). Yet for some reason, most religious people aren't even aware of it; in some traditions, in fact, even the Feast of St. Therese gets more play. ;)
What's at the root of all this? Rather than rehearsing the sad history of the removal of all things Jewish from historic Yeshua-faith, I'll hone in on a tiny detail that perpetuates it. By translating the word ioudaioan as "of the Jews" in John 7:2 (shown above), one might be led to believe that Booths is a holiday somewhat obscure or even off-limits to being appreciated or appropriated by non-Jewish followers of Jesus. And because of the phrasing is repeated just before in John 7:1, one may think the holiday as something which is only appropriate to a bad group called "the Jews" who wanted to kill Yeshua. The implications of such a reading should make most people squirm indeed.
And none of that reading is true or even coherent. Its obvious from the story that Yeshua was not avoiding His own people as such. This would be rather difficult in Galilee as well, and it would be even more difficult since it includes Himself and His brothers. So we already know the author is talking about the religous leadership centered in Judea. But even from immediate context, we have reason to take ioudaioan as "Judean"; for example, as Stern notes, the region "Judea" (or as the KJV humourously calls it, "Jewry") is referenced three times in close range to the phrase. The festival involved pilgrimage to Jerusalem in Judea, and that was the point the author was making. And if "feast of the Jews" should be better understood as "Judean festival," then mutatis mutandis in 7:1, it was "the Judeans" - referring to the leadership in Jerusalem - seeking to kill Yeshua at that time. So, following Stern, Bruce, and others, something like the following makes more sense,
After these things Yeshua was walking in Galilee; for He was unwilling to walk in Judea, because the Judeans were seeking to kill Him. Now the Judean festival, the Feast of Booths, was near. Therefore His brothers said to Him, "Leave here and go into Judea..."As is discussed here, Yeshua then goes on in John's text to show how the Feast being celebrated in Judea points to Himself, the Living Waters!