Happy October! And belated chag sameach for Sukkot and Simchat Torah! Did you do anything fun?
I joined some enthusiastic DCers on Thursday at Sixth & I in celebrating Simchat Torah with Rabbi David Shneyer of Am Kolel congregation, Kehila Chadasha havurah and the Fabrangen Fiddlers music group.
Simchat Torah details the renewal of the Torah reading cycle and celebrating Judaism’s most holy book with drink, dancing and revelry. Five groups of people paraded several Torahs around the sanctuary before moving downstairs, where congregants could dance a lively hora around the scrolls. Don’t these folks look happy? With good snacks and feet-pounding klezmer music, it’s somewhat impossible not to get swept up into the excitement.
I, however, had another goal in mind for coming to Sixth & I. Simchat Torah also marks the end of Sukkot, the week-long festival that commemorates the fall harvest and Jews wandering the desert for 40 years. We are commanded to make our own temporary dwellings, called sukkahs, to commemorate the past. And I hadn’t been to a sukkah all week!
Sixth & I is playing host to a particularly unique sukkah from New York’s Sukkah City design competition. This particular sukkah, called Gathering, was created by Dale Suttle, So Sugita and Ginna Nguyen. It’s sweeping, upwards motion reminds me of a brushfire—or perhaps the burning bush, used by Gd in the story of Deuteronomy to speak to Moses and lead the Jewish people. The creators speak of “urban intimacy” as well. All I knew is I had to get a picture.
Unfortunately, as those of you in DC must be aware, Thursday night rained a monsoon on us. I was literally splashing into puddles and soaking my arms trying to get a shot of this majestic sukkah, which sat, drenched, in a parking lot guarded by a chain-link fence. Though I strained to see the sukkah, my camera was apparently more interested in photographing the fence! 😛 Luckily, some photo editing makes the sukkah a little more distinguishable from its protection.