By Robert Hamilton....
The holiday of Sukkot, the Jewish version of Thanksgiving, begins on Wednesday evening, Sept. 22, and continues for eight days.
During this time Jews sit, eat, socialize and even sleep in the Sukkah. The Sukkah in the synagogue courtyard is commonplace. The Sukkah at home is the standard.
What about a “drive-thru” Sukkah?
Bet Shira Congregation will again construct what is believed to be the first and only “drive-thru” Sukkah. The Torah details the customs of Sukkot while the Talmud prescribes Sukkah dimensions, and the need for one to see the stars through the roof.
Sitting in the Sukkah is a reminder of the connection to nature, the Jewish people’s early agrarian days, and links to the temporary dwellings of the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt. Spending time in the Sukkah fosters these connections.
“Cars are integral to our lifestyle” said Cantor Mark H. Kula. “Why not link them to the Sukkah?
“We sit as we drive; this way, we can sit in our cars in the Sukkah. Perhaps realizing the fragility of the Sukkah will encourage us to drive more carefully,” he added.
“Cantor Kula dreamed up this program last year,” said Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei, the new rabbi of this 600-plus-member Conservative Congregation in Pinecrest. “When I heard about the idea, I thought to myself ‘Wow! He gets it.” Cantor Kula and I believe we should meet people where they are in their life’s Jewish Journey. With this program we capture that quite literally!’
The “McBet Shira Sukkah” will be located at 7500 SW 120 St. in the synagogue’s main parking lot. Simply proceed past the first speed bump, drive into the Sukkah, and stop and say the posted blessing celebrating awareness of the Sukkah traditions.
For more information, contact Bet Shira Congregation at 305-238-2601 or visit online at www.betshira.org.
Volunteers will be present in the Sukkah, holding a Lulav (palm), and Etrog (citron) during several time periods during the week of Sukkot. Jews hold and shake these symbols of nature in the Sukkah, and note that beauty surrounds us as we pursue peace in all directions. When you stop in the Sukkah and roll down your window, you also will receive a sweet Sukkah treat that you can take home or enjoy in the Sukkah.
This innovation in the Sukkah ritual may lead to more interest in Sukkot. Cantor Kula suggests “that all of us should be a little more Sukkah Conscientious this year and rejoice in Sukkot which is designated as the Jewish festival of happiness.”
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