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Bet Shira Congregation 2011 Drive-Thru Sukkah

The holiday of Sukkot, the Jewish version of Thanksgiving, begins on Wednesday Evening, October 12th for eight days. Jews sit, eat, socialize and even sleep in the Sukkah. The Sukkah in the Synagogue courtyard is commonplace. The Sukkah at home is the standard. What about a “drive-thru” Sukkah?

Bet Shira Congregation will again construct what is believed to be the first and only drive-thru Sukkah. The Torah details the customs of Sukkot while the Talmud prescribes Sukkah dimensions, and the need for one to see the stars through the roof. Sitting in the Sukkah reminds us of our connection to nature, the Jewish people’s early agrarian days, and links to the temporary dwellings of the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt. Spending time in the Sukkah fosters these connections.

“Cars are integral to our lifestyle” said Cantor Mark H. Kula.“Why not link them to the Sukkah? We sit as we drive; this way, we can sit in our cars in the Sukkah. Perhaps realizing the fragility of the Sukkah will encourage driving more carefully.”

“Cantor Kula dreamed up this program two years ago” said Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei, Rabbi of this 500+ member Pinecrest Conservative Congregation. “When I heard about the idea, I thought to myself -- Wow! He gets it. Cantor Kula and I believe we should meet people where they are in their life's Jewish Journey. This program captures that quite literally!"

The “Bet Shira McSukkah” will be located at 7500 S.W. 120th Street, Pinecrest, Miami, in the Synagogue’s main parking lot. Simply proceed past the first speed bump, drive into the Sukkah, stop and say the posted blessing celebrating our awareness of the Sukkah traditions. For more information, contact Bet Shira Congregation at (305) 238-2601 or visit www.betshira.org. Everyone is welcome.

Volunteers will be present in the Sukkah, holding a Lulav (palm), and Etrog (citron) during several time periods during the week of Sukkot. We hold and shake these symbols of nature in the Sukkah, and note that beauty surrounds us as we pursue peace in all directions. Let your senses be aware of the preciousness of nature. Be protective of the environment and appreciate nature.

Hopefully, this Sukkah innovation ritual may lead to more interest in Sukkot. Cantor Kula suggests “that all of us should be a little more Sukkah Conscientious this year and rejoice in Sukkot the Jewish festival of happiness.”

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