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Members of the Hillel Jewish culture club at the University of La Verne inspired celebration of Sukkot, a week-long Jewish festival, with the construction of a traditional sukkah.
In celebration of the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot, members of the Hillel Jewish culture club at the University of La Verne constructed and decorated a sukkah on campus Wednesday, September 18 in Sneaky Park.
A sukkah, a Jewish traditional hut, is reminiscent of the days when early Jewish travelers would build temporary shelters in which to live, sleep and eat while journeying after being freed from slavery.
Building on the university’s mission to promote cultural and religious tolerance and diversity on campus, the goal of the sukkah is to generate an appreciation of Jewish traditions.
“The goal is to build community and raise awareness,” said Carissa Miranda, vice president of the La Verne Hillel club.
Following the construction, Cantor Paul Buch from Temple Beth Israel in Pomona offered a community blessing of the sukkah through song and praise.
Hillel club members plan to spend the night in the structure and make use of it during the day until the end of the month.
This year the sukkah is drawing attention to not only the Jewish community and culture but also to the issue of homelessness in the local community. The club is collecting clothes and blankets for the homeless at the sukkah through September 30.
“It’s important for all of us to share each other’s celebrations and philosophies because it is that understanding of differences that will make you appreciate other cultures and not fear them,” President Devorah Lieberman said.
This is the third consecutive year students have participated in the construction of a sukkah during the start of Jewish holidays.