SUKKOTH-The Hut

The Jewish holiday of Sukkoth is being celebrated this week. Centuries ago, it began as a harvest ceremony which took on historical overtones reminding the Jews of their time wandering the desert during the Exodus. An important part of the festivities is the building of a sukka — a temporary hut in which the family takes its meals. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Max Tictin is Assistant Head of the Judaic Studies Program at George Washington University. Surrounded by the sounds of a family sukka under construction, Max tells us each year’s hut is a new creation.

“The kind of sukka that I love best is the one that takes it’s shape that is different from what it was last year. And there’s always some degree of improvisation. And so building the sukka can, and is for many of us, a very joyous enterprise in which we need kids of all ages and sizes to help bring things together that will be part of the sukka and, maybe distinctively, our sukka this year and then after it’s all up, then we have those walls. What are we going to put on the walls? And so our sukka in our family has always included a lot of children’s pictures and drawings, a lot of things cut out from newspapers and magazines that seem appropriate to the change in the seasons [that] the kids have taken, pasted together and then pasted on the wall. And then the last and most exciting thing for kids is we take fruits and we string them up from the roof of the sukka so that many of our sukka, as you enter them will have hanging from the roof: pears and apples and clusters of grapes.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

SUKKOTH-The Hut

The building of the sukka reminds Jews of their ancestors’ desert exile.
Air Date:10/06/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

The Jewish holiday of Sukkoth is being celebrated this week. Centuries ago, it began as a harvest ceremony which took on historical overtones reminding the Jews of their time wandering the desert during the Exodus. An important part of the festivities is the building of a sukka -- a temporary hut in which the family takes its meals. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Max Tictin is Assistant Head of the Judaic Studies Program at George Washington University. Surrounded by the sounds of a family sukka under construction, Max tells us each year's hut is a new creation.

"The kind of sukka that I love best is the one that takes it's shape that is different from what it was last year. And there's always some degree of improvisation. And so building the sukka can, and is for many of us, a very joyous enterprise in which we need kids of all ages and sizes to help bring things together that will be part of the sukka and, maybe distinctively, our sukka this year and then after it's all up, then we have those walls. What are we going to put on the walls? And so our sukka in our family has always included a lot of children's pictures and drawings, a lot of things cut out from newspapers and magazines that seem appropriate to the change in the seasons [that] the kids have taken, pasted together and then pasted on the wall. And then the last and most exciting thing for kids is we take fruits and we string them up from the roof of the sukka so that many of our sukka, as you enter them will have hanging from the roof: pears and apples and clusters of grapes."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.