Last year in Midtown Manhattan, several Chabad-Lubavitch centers hosted “Sukkot 1800”, aiming to welcome that many people to Chabad of Midtown’s landmark sukkah on the deck of the New York Public Library. More than 2,200 joined as the overflow crowd spilled into the surrounding streets and everyone got a chance to celebrate the holiday.
This year, they’ve raised the bar to Sukkot 3,000.
It’s just one example of the scope and impact of Chabad-Lubavitch’s Sukkot events, and the focus on making the holiday’s observances accessible to as many people as possible. In Midtown Manhattan, that means inviting thousands of guests into the sukkah. In Ellicott City, Maryland, it means ensuring that those who are differently-abled are able to celebrate Sukkot with their fellow Jews.
Rabbi Yanky Baron, who directs Chabad of Ellicott City with his wife Leah, recently purchased a trailer with a built-in ramp. The trailer will be transformed into a fully accessible sukkah-mobile, and will travel across town to visit individuals who might otherwise not have the opportunity to observe the mitzvot of the holiday. “This is one of our most precious expenditures as of yet,” Baron said. “In honor of the holiday of Sukkot, we’re ensuring that everyone can get in a Sukkah.”
To ensure the holiday’s observances are welcoming and accessible to people of all ages, Chabad-Lubavitch centers are planning a variety of creative kid-friendly Sukkot celebrations. In the seaside town of Worthing, in southern England, Chabad will host “Cereal in the Sukkah” on the second morning of the holiday, inviting children of all ages to enjoy a cereal bar, hot chocolate, Sukkot crafts, and the opportunity to shake the lulav and etrog for the first time during Sukkot (the lulav and etrog are not shaken on the first day this year, as it is Shabbat).
In Melbourne, Australia, Chabad-Lubavitch has invited the community to Sukkot in Luna Park, a popular theme park. The event will feature hot kosher food, face painting, live music and entertainment, and of course a sukkah and the opportunity to shake the lulav and etrog. Ottawa, Ontario will see a community-wide Sukkah Party hosted by Chabad of Wellington West and the Jewish Youth Library of Ottawa. Kids will enjoy a bouncy castle, music, crafts and dinner—all free of charge, with the public encouraged to attend. Chabad-Lubavitch of Indiana will welcome Jewish hip-hop sensation Ari Lesser as the feature act at a family Sukkot Party co-hosted by the Indianapolis JCC. Kids will enjoy hay rides, face painting and kosher food in the sukkah—and of course the lulav shake.
Students on hundreds of college campuses will find spiritual shelter from the often-stormy atmosphere they may face. Chabad at Vassar will welcome students to “Sukkah-Tessen”, a deli-themed event featuring pickle making and deli sandwiches at the campus sukkah. The Chabad at the University of Maryland in Baltimore will host Sushi in the Sukkah. So will Chabad at Cornell and Chabad at Vanderbilt. Campus sukkahs have sprung up in Vancouver, BC; Princeton, NJ; Portland, OR; Islington, UK; Chicago, IL, and many other cities and towns.
Many community Chabad-Lubavitch centers will host Sukkot Under the Stars, welcoming many thousands to escape the autumn chill into the spiritual warmth of the sukkah (and enjoy a piping hot Sukkot dinner). In Somerset County, NJ, Jewish women will gather for Sangria in the Sukkah. In Austin, Texas, Jewish men will get together for Steak and Scotch in the Sukkah.
And around the world, thousands of sukkahs will welcome Jewish people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds to participate in the festival’s joy. As the Chabad Jewish Center of Missoula, Montana put it—“Mi Casa Sukka-sa”—our sukkah is your sukkah.