Stephen Gilson Jr.
Tikkun Olam International hosted a service and “Sleepover Under the Stars” in honor of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot outside the Ludwick Center on Oct. 7.
The day began early that morning with the building of the sukkah, which is a temporary shelter typically constructed out of branches and other natural materials.
The sukkah construction is part of the weeklong celebration of fall festival Sukkot, which commemorates the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness.
“(Today) a sukkah is generally a place where you go with your community to relax, eat, play music, and talk,” said Tikkun Olam International president and junior interdisciplinary studies major Joachim Gratz de Lang.
The evening’s festivities began at 4 p.m with about 15 community members – of various religious traditions.
Cantor Paul Buch of Temple Beth Israel in Pomona led an informal service by sharing the story of the holiday, playing guitar and singing songs.
“The Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians,” Buch explained. “Once the Israelites were freed, they trekked through the wilderness and wandered for 40 years… Moses led them to the borders of the land that God promised them. Then Moses died and the Israelites moved on without him.
“Building the sukkah is meant to commemorate the time that the Israelites spent wandering the wilderness during those 40 years,” Buch explained.
“Keeping traditions is a way to keep in touch with each other,” said Reed Gratz, professor of music, who attended the event. “It is about community engagement – one of our values here.”
When the program ended, members of the club camped out in the sukkah they’d constructed.
Stephen Gilson Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.