Hello dear readers,
The other day I was talking with my neighbor Joel G., and I mentioned that we had just reserved a sukkot hotel vacation in Italy. Joel then started talking about the right way to build a sukkah, both because he’s learning masechet sukkah with his son and also because he’s an architect. We talked about the interesting sukkah designs that we’ve seen, and the best sukkah building materials.
First, the walls. A lot of people use cloth or canvas. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. (Besides, the blank canvas gives a lot of room for artwork and decorations.) One part of our sukkah that I like is that the four support poles are embedded in buckets of cement, and each bucket has a handprint from Rachel, Ronit, Aryeh or myself. (Reuven came along a few years later). So that’s a nice personal touch (ha, get it, touch?). Another cool cloth idea I’ve seen is to have cloth walls that pull down like window shades. Pull them down to set them, and then with a quick tug they roll back up at the end of the holiday. Neat!
Another option for walls is to use existing structures. Joel’s sukkah is a gazebo thingy in their backyard – it’s some walls (and half-walls) with no roof structure. They add a little cloth, some schach, and presto! A sukkah. No need to add support structures or pillars or poles or what have you. Another sukkah I saw used was the garage door in addition to three temporary walls. Joel thought this wasn’t noteworthy, but changed his mind once I told him about the time I ate in that sukkah on chol hamoed. The sukkah itself was a pretty ordinary (but great food and company, of course) – until someone accidentally opened the garage door in the middle of the meal! One table was flipped but thankfully no one was hurt, and we reversed the process before the door was all the way open. We had a good laugh while it happened, and Joel also thought it was funny.
Another important bit is schach. (It’s such a weird word to spell in English—Skach? Skhakh?) You know the drill – more shade than sun. My family has always used palm fronds – it just feels more sukkot-ish, doesn’t it? Like how the lulav is also palm leaves. Joel, though, likes bamboo mats. Listen, Joel, you may be an architect, but that doesn’t mean I like your taste in schach. Of course, there’s a third option: cut your own. Aryeh had a neighbor growing up who cut branches off trees in their backyard and just dragged them on top of their sukkah. Whatever works for you, I guess.
Can’t wait to see the design of the hotel sukkah in Italy!
Let us take care of your sukkot holiday plans from start to finish. Book your sukkot family vacation today with Leisure Time Tours by calling us at 718-528-0700.