By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
As county and statewide restrictions continue to impact gatherings and celebrations, Chabad of Pacific Palisades searched for a way to celebrate Sukkot, an annual seven-day festival that is celebrated outdoors in a sukkah, which is a temporary greenery-topped hut.
The annual festival commemorates the time when Jewish people wandered in the desert wilderness on their way to the Promised Land and the clouds the surrounded them, Rabbi Zushe Cunin, executive director of Chabad of Pacific Palisades, explained in a statement.
“Dwelling in the sukkah during Sukkot is Biblically mandated,” the statement continued. “With a sukkah constructed and placed on a U-Haul trailer, the holiday was brought right to people’s doorstep for a safe, physically distanced celebration.”
With health precautions in place, including the use of hand sanitizer, the mobile sukkah made its way around town, with one sukkah stationed in the U.S. Bank parking lot and a large, second sukkah at the Chabad campus.
“Our goal is to make Judaism and Jewish practice accessible to all of Pacific Palisades,” Cunin said. “That’s why this year, we brought the sukkah-mobile to the homes of people who want to join in the celebration, but aren’t able to join our usual communal gatherings.”
Cunin credited the “incredible creativity” of Chabad’s early childhood education team, led by Director Chana Hertzberg, “who brought so many creative and unique experiences for our children to express themselves and understand the beauty and joy of this holiday.”
Another holiday practice, Cunin explained, is the gathering of the Four Species: the etrog (a citrus fruit with a sweet and strong smell), the lulav (a palm branch), twigs from the willow tree and myrtle bush.
“Chabad of Pacific Palisades sourced a number of sets of the Four Species, as Biblically mandated, for local community members celebrating at home, and took to the streets to enable Pacific Palisades’ Jews to safely observe this tradition,” the statement concluded, “symbolizing the unity of the Jewish people, a message felt now perhaps more than ever with the crucial importance of community support during this time of uncertainty.”
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