Not identifying as Jewish, I don’t celebrate many of the Jewish holidays my wife – the Velveteen Rabbi – does. I tend to pick holidays selectively, choosing the ones that involve feasts over the ones that involve fasts. I’ll happily cook Rosh Hashonah dinner and let Rachel handle the atoning for both of us on Yom Kippur. (Similarly, she’s good about leaving the more theologically demanding Christian holidays to me…)
But I hadn’t encountered Sukkot until this year. A Jewish harvest festival, it’s not one of the major highlights of the liturgical calendar – TV stations don’t run cute little ads wishing their Jewish viewers a happy Sukkot. But once I heard the rules – build a shack in the field with a roof made of corn stalks and eat your meals in it for a week – I found it a hard holiday to resist.
So I spent part of Monday afternoon turning the frame of the ger we built last winter (see my brief essay, “Behold the Power of String” if you’re curious what a ger is and why we seem to build one each winter) into a sukkah, the roughly made shack one eats meals in during Sukkot, and then cooking dinner to eat in it.
Rachel blogs all this in far more detail, with photos, on her blog – if you’re curious what a ger-based sukkah looks like, and why – theologically – it’s useful to spend a week eating meals in a leaky shack, read her post.