huts of all shapes and sizes dotting landscapes across the globe, passing
motorists and pedestrians in the know can tell that the Jewish world is
celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. Two of the largest and most visible sukkahs
– while each hut can have walls made out of pretty much any material, it’s the natural,
permeable roof, that is key – can be found in the downtown metropolises of New
York City and London, beckoning residents, commuters and tourists alike to come
inside and make a special blessing.
Chabad-Lubavitch of Midtown Manhattan and Chabad-Lubavitch of London, respectively,
each hut stands right in the middle of town. In London’s case, the wooden
structure measure more than 500 square feet, taking up a part of the bustling
New Street Square between Fleet Street and Chancery Lane.
On Wednesday, more
than 200 people enjoyed a lunch in the London sukkah sponsored by Deloitte and
a bevy of other supporting firms, including Bolt Partners, Freshfields,
Bruckhaus Deringer, Mishcon De Reya, Speechly Bircham, and Taylor Wessing. Later
that evening, Chabad-Lubavitch of London hosted a kosher wine tasting event
with guests sampling vintage wines from the S. Emilion and Bordeaux regions of
France with a trained sommelier.
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“It is amazing
to see so many Jews coming together to unite for this project,” commented
Chabad-Lubavitch UK chief executive officer Rabbi Bentzi Sudak.
pond, the Midtown sukkah measured in at 20 by 40 feet at New York City’s Bryant
Rabbi Joshua Metzger said on Friday just before the lunch crowd picked up. “There
are literally thousands of people here.”
locations, rabbinical students can be found at all hours of the day inviting
people in and offering the chance to make a blessing on the Four Species, a
palm branch, willow branches, myrtle twigs and citron that are held together
each day of the holiday.
A Londoner makes a blessing on the Four Species inside of the sukkah operated by Chabad-Lubavitch of London.
founded the Midtown Chabad 17 years ago, built his first sukkah in a parking
lot. Since then, the city has been very accommodating, he said, allowing the current
structure to be built behind the New York Public Library in the heart of the
business district, equidistant between Grand Central Station, the Port
Authority Bus Terminal and Penn Station.
“There were a
lot of Israeli backpackers not necessarily looking for a sukkah, but just
stumbling upon it,” he said of some of the visiters.
local kosher restaurants provide sukkahs for their patrons, the Bryant Park
sukkah is available for anyone and everyone. Special programs for young
professionals, families and schools have been taking place each day.
“The sukkah is
a symbol of unity and Jewish pride at its best,” said Metzger, whose center
recently purchased the nearby 12-story building that houses its landmark
second-floor location at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.
Back in London,
Sudak is thrilled with the impressive turnout for the sukkah’s second year.
rabbi: “We hope this will be a catalyst for making Judaism more accessible.”
more information about the holiday of Sukkot, or to find celebrations in your