Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Sukkah for New York

Manuscript Illustration of a Sukkah (Italy, 1374). British Libriary MS Or 5024 fol 70v from Metzger, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, fig. 369.

Sukkah meal. Amsterdam, 1722 by Bernard Picart

Design for Sukkah by Stanley Tigerman and Susan O'Brien , Chicago Booth Festival (Chicago: Spertus Museum, 1994), pg 32

A Sukkah Bound for New York

An ambitious compeititon is organized for Sukkahs to be built in Union Square in New York City. I've written about the sukkah and the competition in The Forward:
New Yorkers have gotten used to the celebration of Jewish holidays in public places. The 32-foot-tall Hanukkah menorah lit regularly at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza isn’t as tall as the spires of nearby churches (or hotels), but it is still a pretty assertive statement of Jewish presence and pride. Once the city opened the door to such displays of religious observance in a public space, we knew it wouldn’t be long before other celebrations followed. And in fact, it is the holiday of Sukkot that will be celebrated in a public space as “Sukkah City: New York City” — the brainchild of Joshua Foer — launches a design competition for innovative sukkahs (literally: booths), for which registration closes on July 1.

Traditionally, rabbis have discouraged building in public places in order to lessen the risk of unwanted intrusion or destruction. But Foer is using the competition process and public display to combine the explicit missions of the organizers — Union Square Partnership and Reboot — to improve “the district’s continued growth and success” while making Jewish “culture, rituals, and traditions we’ve inherited… vital and resonant in our own lives.”
You can read more at the competition website here.

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