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Build a Sukkah, fortify your faith

פרויקט סוכה NCSY TJJ

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])

Have you already fulfilled the mitzvah of building a sukkah this year, as well as performing the mitzvah of the four species? Don't take any of this for granted. Stephanie Sokol of New York sent me many pictures of people gathered in sukkot. I did not understand what was so special about them until she explained as folllows:

"Over the past few years the organizations TJJ and NCSY have initiated the 'Sukkah Project' in New York. If you and your family never built a sukkah, you received from us a sukkah and the four species as a gift. This year we gave away 44 of these sukkot presents to American Jewish families.

In Israel all the children grow up with the festival of Sukkot but overseas there are second and third generations that have no childhood experiences with Sukkot and don't even know what a sukkah is. We explain the holiday to them and it is amazing to see how adults become as excited as kids: Older men build a sukkah and excitedly explain the story behind it. Families invite friends and relatives to their own sukkah for the first time. A 50-year-old woman makes decorations for her sukkah because she never did this in kindergarten, and another woman invites all her grandchildren to see a sukkah for the first time, because she was not privileged to see one at their age.

For many years we would invite people into our sukkah, but this year we went in the opposite direction: We made those without a sukkah active participants in building their own and having their own guests. It's possible to speak at length about American Judaism and its problems, but sometimes all that is necessary for a deepening commitment to our faith is one positive act -- such as building a sukkah.


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