Sukkah City comes to the Ramah Ranch

This past week, I have had the pleasure of sitting in my Sukkah that I built using wood and hardware from Home Depot, topped with a bamboo mat that arrived via Fedex from a warehouse in Brooklyn.  A Sukkah is supposed to be a place that is less comfortable than one’s house and is built as a temporary structure in the outdoors.  My Sukkah, fits this description while also being a halachically acceptable.

Although most Sukkoth today are built in such a fashion, Sukkah parts do not need to originate from a Homedepot store or even a Brooklyn warehouse.  This summer, our Bogrim chalutzim (entering 9/10th grade) had an opportunity to construct Kosher Sukkoth from recycled materials found around our ranch.  Inspired by the Sukkah City project that took place in 2010 in New York City, groups of chalutzim studied the texts that related to the laws of building a kosher Sukkah and the spiritual significance of dwelling in a Sukkah.  Their final products reflected their understanding of these texts.  After each group completed their project, they gave a presentation to the rest of the group explaining why they chose to build the Sukkah in a particular manner.

When we conceived of this project, we had hoped to transport the best two Sukkoth to Denver on the back of a truck and place them in a public spot in the city for all to see.  Little did we realize that our chalutzim would be so creative in their designs, that only one of the Sukkoth  could be transported without also moving a two ton rock, of a 100 foot tree!

Never seen a wheel barrow serving as a wall before!

Never seen a wheel barrow serving as a wall before!

Instead, the Sukkoth have remained at camp for the winter, and we are left with only the pictures of each of them which are pasted below.

As we conclude this holiday period we are already beginning to plan the educational program for next summer.  Our plan is to continue to teach about religious rituals and objects in as engaging and creative a manner as we did when learning about Sukkoth.

Humans serve as walls of this sukkah

Humans serve as walls of this sukkah. The Gemara talks about using a camel as a wall. The Chalutzim deduced that humans could act in the same manner.

This sukkah serves as both a shelter for sleeping and eating.  A person can sit in the middle, making it Kosher

This sukkah serves as both a shelter for sleeping and eating. It is high enough for a person to sit in the middle, making it Kosher

Boards around camp make the three walls.  Downed branches cover the top

Boards around camp make the three walls. Downed branches cover the top

Three downed trees form the frame.  Branches used as sides and the schach

Three downed trees form the frame. Branches used as sides and on the top as schach

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