Today is the first day of the Jewish holiday Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles). It begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Tishrai and lasts for 8 days (7 in Israel) ending with Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. The Hebrew word “sukkot” is the plural of the work “sukkah” (booth or tabernacle), a walled structure covered with leaves. Meals are eaten there, and some people sleep there.
Back in the 1950’s, The Downtown Talmud Torah, the Hebrew school I attended on the Lower East Side, built a sukkah each year on the roof the four-story building. I have very vague recollections of my classes being taken up to it.
Two important symbols of this holiday are the “lulav” (palm tree frond) and the “etrog” (yellow citron).
Walking back from lunch through Madison Square Park this afternoon, we discovered that there is a sukkah (erected by Chabad) on the park’s northern side.