Monday, September 20, 2010

Sukkadah Time

Finished putting up the sukkadah Monday.

Now, most of you might think the temporary hut that is part of the annual fall Festival of Tabernacles that commemorates the Israelites’ wandering in the desert for 40 years is called a sukkah (plural is sukkoth, the Hebrew name of the holiday). But to me and a handful of my close friends, it will be forever known as a sukkadah.

Almost 20 years ago our group decided to upgrade from sukkoth made of wooden posts anchored in cinder blocks to a more high-tech speed-rail frame construction. We assigned David S. the task of finding a supplier. Try as he might, he kept coming up empty. During one memorable call, he asked if the retailer sold speed rails. No, came the response, followed by, “What are you looking to build?” David hemmed and hawed, not really wanting to get into a detailed explanation of what a sukkah is. Pushed further by the retailer, David said he wanted to build a temporary hut for a religious holiday. “Oh, you want to build one of them sukkadahs,” the retailer said. David didn’t bother correcting his pronunciation, but as soon as he related the story to us we adopted sukkadah as the official terminology of our construction activity.

We eventually found a fence retailer in Scotch Plains, N.J, that carried speed rails. One Sunday morning we loaded my minivan with enough speed rail to build five sukkoth.

Over the years, like most of our group, I drifted in and out of building a sukkah. I started again last year and have made decorative enhancements each year. In 2009, I added fabric garlands of autumn leaves. This year, a string of rope lights.

Sukkoth is one of the most joyous of holidays, made all the more so by building a sukkadah.