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By Jeremy Schiffres, Daily and Sunday Freeman, Kingston, N.Y.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hut 1, Hut 2

If you’ve driven past Congregation Ahavath Israel or Temple Emanuel in Kingston in recent days, you may have noticed that each building has a temporary structure in front of it. It’s called a sukkah and is used primarily for gatherings and meals during the weeklong Jewish festival of Sukkot, which starts Wednesday night. (There also is a sukkah at Congregation Agudas Achim in Kingston, but it’s behind the building and not visible from the road.)

The sukkah symbolizes the temporary huts in which the Jews lived in the desert after being freed from slavery in ancient Egypt. Today, the sukkah is largely symbolic, though strictly observant Jews – especially those who live in Israel and other warm climates – will eat all meals and sleep in the structures throughout the holiday. Others may use it only for occasional meals or for congregational gatherings after holiday services at the synagogue.

(I bring all this up, by the way, because I was part of the crew that built the sukkah at Congregation Ahavath Israel, where I am a member, and I'm shamelessly looking for a little credit.)

If you want to learn more about the sukkah and the festival of Sukkot, there are countless resources on the Web. This is one:


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