Correction: This erroneously implied that Sukkot was only celebrated in October, when the holiday can also be celebrated in September and November as well. The Ticker apologizes for this error.
Hillel at Baruch constructed a sukkah on the eighth floor of the Newman Vertical Campus for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which was available for student use all throughout the holiday.
The holiday of Sukkot is celebrated by Jewish people every October, this year falling from Oct. 4 to Oct. 11. The holiday commemorates the 40-year period in which the Israelites wandered in the desert and lived in temporary shelters after leaving Egypt. These shelters are symbolized through the huts modern-day Jewish people build for the holiday, called sukkahs. The sukkah is meant to represent the protection God gave the Israelites in the desert on their journey from Egypt to Israel.
Throughout the holiday, Jewish people eat their meals in the sukkahs and say special blessings over their food that are specific to the holiday before and after eating. A sukkah has to be made under specific instructions; it must have at least three walls and there are minimum and maximum height requirements as well. On the roof of the hut are bamboo shoots that must have enough holes in it to allow people inside to see the sky. The four walls of the sukkah on campus are made of blue and white cloth, and the structure is roughly 10 feet by 8 feet.
One Sukkot tradition involves waving palm fronds, myrtle twigs and willow twigs, which are referred to as a lulav, a hadassim and an aravot, respectively. This tradition also involves a citron fruit known as an etrog. Throughout the holiday, people shake the items in a series of directions to symbolize the divine rule over nature and God’s presence in everything.
Ilya Bratman, executive director of Hillel at Baruch, organized the building of the sukkah. He explained that the sukkah “combines and connects the diverse population on campus by having them come together and celebrate the holiday.”
He also said that he and other Hillel members enjoy teaching people about the holiday, as well as other aspects of Judaism, to help them to appreciate it.
Hillel had a party in the sukkah on Oct. 10, in which students ate sushi and Israeli food such as falafel, shawarma sandwiches and Israeli salad. The event was attended by both Jewish and non-Jewish people.
The space was overflowing with people throughout the party, with students eating and chatting.
One student at the event, Sam Feygin, said that to him it is “inspiring to see and meet other Jews on campus and the sukkah on campus makes lunchtime so much easier for me on the holiday.”
Use of the sukkah was open to all at any time throughout the eight days of the holiday. Hillel also had a pizza party on Oct. 11.
The organization is thankful to Baruch for allowing them to put up the sukkah and make these events possible, Bratman explained.
Baruch’s Hillel hosts events each week, as well as special events in honor of the holidays.
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