By APN Intern Naomi Tamura
Every Shabbat, Jews around the world ask God to “spread over us a sukkat shalom – a
sukkah of Your peace.” We express our hope for the protection of our dignity and our rights, and to live in a
just and peaceful world with our neighbors. As the Jewish festival of Sukkot begins just days after Yom Kippur,
Jewish communities come together to celebrate, among other things, the freedom of the people of Israel – and to
build their individual and communal sukkahs as physical representations of this peace and protection that we
seek. Unfortunately, there are other homes being built that only serve to prevent both peace and freedom.
Three years ago, I lived on Kibbutz Ein-Dor in the north of Israel as part of my gap year
program. There, I and 37 others helped build a sukkah (pictured). Although it was little more than a
simple, open-roofed structure with only one permanent wall, we rejoiced in our sukkah’s vulnerability. Our
collective efforts to hang pictures of our families, lace colorful streamers around the few tree branches that
served as our roof, and stake PVC piping into the ground as the sukkah’s base all brought us closer together
as a community. Yet, it was the way that we ate, sang, joked, and dreamed together that allowed us to
understand the true meaning of community filled with members who are at peace with one another.
This Sunday evening, as we prepare to celebrate Sukkot in a new year, we should be reminded of the connections
between the sukkah and peace. The openness of the sukkah not only reminds us to share our homes with others, but
asks us to open our hearts and minds towards building inclusivity and tolerance. In doing so, the sukkah becomes a
communal structure sustained only by the shared commitment and vigilance of all its guests.