From the canvas sukkah to the Sukkahmobile, here are some structures you might see over Sukkot.
People think that Jews aren’t a handy people. Not true. When it comes to the holiday of Sukkot, we pull out that architectural paper and get to work. The people who built the pyramids come to life by showing that they can still build… structures that last eight days.
Here are some Sukkot structures (not necessarily kosher!) that you might see during the holidays, and some that you might want to try and build yourselves:
The Cloth Sukkah is traditional Jewish building at its peak.
For construction, you take the pre-tailored cloth and slip the metal pole through the folded over hole that runs through the cloth. This is not a simple one-person job, as the metal pole can easily get stuck in the middle of the cloth. It might sound easy, but it takes a good half hour to finish this structure. Which is why so many young Jewish children opt out of the building business.
There is no greater feeling of accomplishment than when you take that hard side of the Velcro and attach it to the soft side of the Velcro. Mission accomplished.
This is a step up from the cloth Sukkah in its ability to make noise in the wind.
You do not push the metal slats through the canvas here. For this Sukkah, we use the metal ring construction technique. Making it more complicated, you have to build with string and double knots. You also have to find decent plumbing, as your pipes must be strong. This Sukkah is best built in stormier areas. If you live near tall buildings, this may be a better choice than the cloth Sukkah. However, make sure you practice tying knots before attempting construction. Anybody with untied shoelaces will not be of help here.
The best part about this Sukkah is that after the holiday, you can use the sukkah walls to transfer the leaves from your backyard to the curb.
Wood Plank Sukkah
If you want the full holiday experience of family hostility, this is the Sukkah for you.
My childhood memories are full of family members yelling, ‘Where is the B plank?!’ My father never marked the planks, and I never knew what the B plank even meant. As I learned later on, it was not really about the plank, but rather a chance to shout at me.
Make for family memories and add a level of complication to your holidays. Other ways to make for family antipathy is to live in a building and to have your Sukkah in the building’s courtyard. The 100 meter walk and four flights of stairs to the Sukkah, while carrying soup, will definitely have mom and dad yelling at the children.
Bouncy House Sukkah
Created a few years back, you blow this Sukkah up, hence its name, the Bouncy Castle Sukkah.
We traditionally look at air mattresses as uncomfortable. But add bouncy to them and now we are talking fun for the whole family. If you think it is fun to jump around and bounce into people, imagine how much more fun it is to do that when eating dinner.
Also known as the Sukkahmobile, this is a great way to travel. You can go on long trips with this structure. However, keep it down to 25 miles an hour. Anything over 30 miles per hour, and the sukkah goes flying. Even though this Sukkah is not as hazardous as the Menorah Mobile, which you drive under trees, it still shows our belief that G-d protects us.
Pop Up Sukkah
Looking like a gigantic adjustable trivet, this Sukkah is excellent for the lover of food, or for those who like camping, but near restaurants. Usually holding to the lowest standards of required size, this is great for eating out. You want to be classy and have a nice candle lit dinner outing with your family in a 4 by 4 foot Sukkah, this is for you.
Interesting fact: one of the kosher steak joints in Jerusalem banned this form of Sukkah, as it appeared that there was a protest being staged outside of their restaurant.
Another great Sukkah for travel. You have your clothes in it. You take out your clothes and now you are eating in it. This is a much greater use for the trunk than sticking it in the bedroom, when the foot of the bed does not reach ten handbreadths high. There is no greater fun for the whole family then when dad does the walking down the Sukkah shtick.
The Car Trunk Sukkah also works well if you are looking to kidnap a practicing Jew over the holidays. I do not condone kidnapping, but if you must kidnap, this is a good option.
Friends, make for some family memories and build with your children. No matter what kind of Sukkah you build, remember that the Sukkah is a place to show our belief that G-d protects us from everything but flies.