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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

How a hut inspired humanity

By Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman





A Succah Grows in Brooklyn


JewishWorldReview.com | Brooklyn, 1971.

A young man looks forward to Succos, the Jewish religious festival known in English as the Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles.

Although he attends yeshivah, his family has no succah of their own. In the early 1970s there were many frum (religiously observant) Jews who did not "yet" have their own succah.

People made due with the synagogue's succah. The young man and his family were one of those families.

The young man asks his parents if this year they could have their own succah. His parents tell him they can't afford one.

It's the Shabbos (Sabbath) before Succos. That evening, with less than 24 hours before Succos, the young man sits silently dreaming about a succah to call his own.

Suddenly his parents tell him, "Friends just called. They have the frame of their old succah and you can have it."

The next morning he jumps into the family's '63 Oldsmobile Cutlass to pick up a collection of two-by-fours. Then he and his "two left hands" begin to clumsily bang a nail here and there. Just then, his secular Israeli neighbor Yossi walks by. Yossi asks, "What are you doing?"

"Building a succah."

Yossi runs home and comes back with a proper hammer and saw. "At the rate you're going, you'll finish by Pesach," he says. "Let me give you a hand." And for the first time in the history of East 82nd Street in Canarsie, the sounds of succah building are heard.



At noon, Lenny Waldman, another "not-yet" frum Jew walks by. "What're you guys doing?"

"Building a succah."

"Where's the roof?"

Our young man says, "We'll think of something. It needs to be something that grows."

Lenny disappears into his house. A few moments later he's back with a large pair of shears and begins to cut large swathes from the evergreen in his yard. "I always wondered why I let it get so big."

Henry Gordon the cab driver sees Lenny cutting his tree. "What you doing?" he asks Lenny. "This guy is building a succah," Lenny tells him.

Henry comes over to look and asks, "Where are the walls?"

The young man answers, "I'll just grab some old sheets and tack them to the frame."

"I have an idea; I'll be back soon."

Ten minutes later he reappears pushing a wheelbarrow full of doors. "Whenever I'm driving and I see an old door, I toss it in the trunk. I've been doing it for years. Let me donate them as the walls for your succah."

Murray Cohen, who refers to himself as a "non-practicing Kohein," was the last neighbor to meander across the street. "Whatcha all doing? Looks like a succah. I've never seen one of those around Canarsie. Hang on, I have something for you."


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Murray returns with a large sheet of green felt. "I fix pool tables for a living and they often give me the old felt. Let's staple it to the doors. It'll give the succah a real homey feeling."

That night, the first night of Yom Tov, there's a knock on the succah door.

In walks Lenny. "Looks pretty cozy in here."

Soon Henry appears to admire his handiwork, followed by Yossi and Murray.

As our young man recites Kiddush he almost feels he has no need to invite the Ushpizin (heavenly guests), because he has no doubt that all the Ushpizin are already present, proudly standing together with Yossi, Lenny, Murray and Henry.

Many years have passed since that Succos. That young man is no longer young, and now has a large succah connected to his home, which gets built way before Yom Tov, and then fills up with family and friends.

But every year, as I recite Kiddush (sacrament) on Succos, I pine for my succah of 1971 --- the most beautiful and precious succah I will ever be privileged to enter.

Previously:

Past Present

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Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman is the spiritual leader of Congregation Ahavas Israel in Passaic, N.J. He's also a columnist for Mishpacha magazine, where this column first appeared.


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© 2013, Mishpacha Magazine