Yes, Sukkot is a time of joy. In our prayers, we call it “z’man simhatenu,” which literally means “the happy holiday” — there’s no trepidation about Who Will Live And Who Will Die anymore! This is a celebration that we all made it. We crawl inside our temporary tabernacles, invite friends, and hold a massive, glorious fiesta every night.
And every day, while we’re at work or researching a story or on the run in the middle of Queens while dressed as a Hasidic Jew because we’re filming a movie (okay, long story, I’ll blog about it soon) — we’re constantly away, not only from festivals, but from a sukkah. And, when you’re an observant Jew, you try to only eat food in a sukkah. Which means that, if you’re in any of the above circumstances, it might prove difficult.
Okay — admittedly, last week, I complained about the time it takes to find a sukkah. But this year, I’ve discovered the coolest new toy on the block. It’s a website, of course. It’s called LocalSukkah.org, and it’s a complete listing of every public sukkah in the world.
It’s not actually a listing of every public sukkah, of course. It doesn’t even have most of them — there are scarcely a dozen listed in Manhattan. But the site’s geographic and movement-related diversity are both impressive. Especially when you learn that it’s run out of a tiny house in Melbourne, Australia.
All told, it’s a pretty good attempt to create an online Swiss-army knife of sukkah listings. And, if I do happen to get stranded in Cuzco, Peru, or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, I’ll know exactly which website to bookmark.
Pronounced: khah-SID-ik, Origin: Hebrew, a stream within ultra-Orthodox Judaism that grew out of an 18th-century mystical revival movement.
Pronounced: SOO-kah (oo as in book) or sue-KAH, Origin: Hebrew, the temporary hut built during the Harvest holiday of Sukkot.
Pronounced: sue-KOTE, or SOOH-kuss (oo as in book), Origin: Hebrew, a harvest festival in which Jews eat inside temporary huts, falls in the Jewish month of Tishrei, which usually coincides with September or October.