Never Give a Sukkah an Even Break

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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What is a sukkah? No, it’s not one that’s born every minute. It is a makeshift structure erected in the fall to commemorate the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot. This year, starting in July, New York is hosting a juried international Sukkah competition called Sukkah City conceived by Joshua Foer and Reboot, a nonprofit organization aimed at reinventing the traditions and rituals of Judaism for today’s secular Jews. Twelve structures will be built around Union Square. Co-founder Roger Bennett notes that the competition will breathe “creativity into a much needed, simple design.” Architects and designers are invited to submit their proposals.

Yet as simple as it is, there are a number of rules each designer must follow, such as: “A whale may be used to make a sukkah’s walls. Also a living elephant”; “The roof cannot be made of utensils, or anything conventionally functional when it is not part of a sukkah”; “A sukkah may be built on top of a camel”; and “At night, one must be able to see the stars from within the sukkah, through the roof.”

More on the Sukkah: “Ostensiblythe sukkah’s religious function is to commemorate the temporarystructures that the Israelites dwelled in during their exodus fromEgypt, but it is also about universal ideas of transience andpermanence as expressed in architecture. The sukkah is a means ofceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time remainingdeeply rooted. It calls on us to acknowledge the changing of theseasons, to reconnect with an agricultural past, and to take a momentto dwell on, and dwell in, impermanence.”

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