Russell R. Silva
Community members joined the Hillel Club to build a Sukkah, a tent structure, for the University’s fourth annual celebration of the Jewish holiday Sukkot.
The Sukkah creates an area for those who would like to meditate and be at one with God and themselves.
A lulav is placed in the Sukkah and is made up of six different types of branches like myrtle, palm and willow.
Members of the Hillel club began building the structure on the west side of the park with assistance from members of the Multicultural Club.
Before construction, Rabbi Zev-Hayyim Feyer blessed the setting with a prayer and welcomed onlookers to join in.
“It is important to know that we all have a purpose here,” Feyer said. “Sukkot is described as the season of our joy.”
Sukkot commemorates the 40-year period when Israelite children wandered through the desert. During this time, they would stay in temporary shelters to keep safe from the harsh elements.
In essence, God was trusted to protect them from everything else the Sukkah does not.
After the rabbi’s speech students began to start with the construction of the Sukkah.
Long wooden boards with screws make up the body of the Sukkah. Green sheer tarps wrap around three fourths of the Sukkah with bamboo and palm tree roofing.
“It was brief, but felt very familiar because I was welcomed into the group,” Cole Wagner, senior theater major, said.
He helped build the Sukkah by using a power drill and screws.
Daniel Loera, director of multicultural services, let students engage in the building to welcome them to the community.
“It sends such a message to the campus for interfaith cooperation,” President Devorah Lieberman said.
During the blessing of the building, different types of fruit were passed out to mark the end of the first month of the Jewish calendar.
Those celebrating noshed on pomegranates, citrus fruit, grapes, dates and a sesame seed dessert called halva in honor of the first taste of the season.
Fruit is used in the Jewish tradition to signify the importance of appreciating the fruit from the trees and food grown for the soul.
“The pomegranate seeds are most significant to represent the many ways a person can connect with God from the inside,” Jake Huberman, visiting assistant professor of communications, said.
The Sukkah will be available throughout the seven day holiday for students and faculty to reserve or come and go as they please.
Russell R. Silva can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.