By: Al Wicklund , Staff Writer 10/10/2003

The Cranbury Press, Friday, October 10, 2003

Jews celebrate Sukkot with a view to the sky


The holiday begins at sundown today (Friday)

   MONROE — A 16-by-20-foot sukkah, a hut for the celebration of the joyful Jewish holiday Sukkot, is being built this week by Rabbi Eliezer Zaklikovsky of the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe.
   Meanwhile at Congregation Etz Chaim-Monroe Township Jewish Center, 11 Cornell Ave., the children will be working on a sukkah of their own.
   The temporary structures, which symbolize the post-Exodus period when the Jewish people, having escaped from Egypt, wandered in the wilderness and lived in huts, will be the sites of celebratory parties.
   Congregation Etz Chaim will have tailgate parties and a touch football game following 9:30 a.m. Sunday classes.
   Harriet Katz, center president, said the game will have children and adults participating as players and cheerleaders as part of the joyful holiday. The tailgating will include a kosher barbecue menu.
   "Even Rabbi Ben Levy's dog, Bagel the Beagle, takes part in the game," Ms. Katz said.
   The Chabad Jewish Center will have a Sukkot feast and housewarming from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at 264 Gravel Hill Road near Gravel Hill's juncture with Union Valley Road.
   The sukkah also will be open throughout the week.
   Rabbi Zaklikovsky said Sukkot is a happy time following the solemn High Holy Days of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.
   "Sukkot is an exciting time, a time for music, singing and dancing and eating," the rabbi said.
   He said the holiday begins at sundown today (Friday) and will continue through Oct. 16.
   Rabbi Zaklikovsky said everyone is welcome.
   "Being in one hut under God's heaven has a unifying effect," he said.
   The rabbi said it will take two to three days to build the hut, which is supposed to be modest, but sturdy enough to withstand a stiff breeze. The roof of the sukkah is supposed to be open enough to view the sky from inside.
   "I've been building a sukkah every year for some 30 years. I used to make them with my father and grandfather," he said.
   Rabbi Zaklikovsky said the construction of the sukkah is a community effort.
   "There will be other people helping," he said.
   He said the hut and area around it will have electric lights.
   "I hope families and individuals will feel free to stop by at any time to help us celebrate, to meet the rabbi and his family and to meet other members of the community," Rabbi Zaklikovsky said.
   Those wishing more information about the events should call the Chabad Jewish Center of Monroe at (609) 655-2200 or Congregation Etz Chaim-Monroe Township Jewish Center at (732) 251-1119.