Wednesday, September 26, members of the Jewish Student Connection (JSC) and their Rabbi built a Sukkah outside the front entrance of the school in the outdoor classroom.
A Sukkah is built for the holiday Sukkot. This holiday remembers the day Abraham built a Sukkah in the desert. He welcomed anyone coming across the desert into the hut. The hut was built, taken down, and rebuilt throughout the 40-year journey the Jews made from Egypt to Israel for freedom.
“They built it because this is what they slept in when they were wandering in the desert from Egypt going to Israel. Every night, they would rebuild it and sleep, then they’d keep walking in the morning and sleep in it again,” Ellianna Lederman ‘19, President of the JSC, said.
A Lulav is composed of four different types of branches. Branches from palm, myrtle, willow, and citron trees are bonded together, and a Jew holds the Lulav and an etrog, a yellow fruit. Holding the Lulav and the etrog, the Jew recites a Jewish blessing over the Sukkah in Hebrew. After the blessing is recited, the Lulav is shaken in the forward, right, backward, left, up, and down directions to show that any desert wanderer, regardless of religion or origin, was welcomed into the Sukkah and to bring blessings from every direction.
Freshman JSC member Josh Lederman said, “It had doors on all four sides to welcome everyone from everywhere in the desert,” to describe the Sukkah.
“Some people do live in it,” Josh said, “and they have a heater and everything.”
The roof is made of long, thin bamboo sticks stretched over the Sukkah.
Josh and Isaac Abramovitz ‘19 made paper chains for traditional, classic decoration. Rabbi Meir had them put the chain from one corner of the Sukkah to the other, hanging off the bamboo sticks.
Elliana Lederman answered numerous questions from visitors, including Spanish teachers Derek DeNileon, Margaret Motz, and Stephanie Popplewell, Counselor Pamela Cheeseman, and Psychology teacher Kathryn Lemeshewsky.
In the morning, the students and Rabbi Meir had a spread of bagels, honey bread, fruit, and lemonade. For lunch, they had deli sandwiches, lemonade, and fruit.
The Sukkot holiday is celebrated in fall when the weather is cold and not ideal for a reason.
“Since we spend a week outside, we do it in worse weather. You have to sit in the snow and the rain to make it stick out,” Rabbi Meir said.
As the Jews persevered through harsh weather to make their way across the desert that possessed extreme weather conditions, building the Sukkah in harsher weather remembers the fortitude of the Jews during their journey.
The date of Sukkot was declared in the Jewish Bible, the Torah. The Torah includes the instructions to shake the Lulav as well.
The Jewish Student Connection was outside in the morning and during both lunches. Ellianna said there are fifteen members of the JSC and that a lot of them came to help during first lunch. The JSC hosts multiple events throughout the year, but this is an annual fall tradition that members of the JSC have fun putting on.