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Grayston Sukkah success

Tuesday, 9 October, 2018 - 9:31 am

Building bridges in the Parking Lot 

Patrons of the Grayston Shopping Centre were greeted by a unique interactive, pop-up Jewish

experience last week. In celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the Jewish Life Centre of

Strathavon erected a mini Sukkah in the parking lot.

Sukkot is the Biblical festival that celebrates G-d’s protection over the Children of Israel as they

meandered through the desert for forty years. Jews celebrate this festival each year for one week in

late September or early October. During that week, Jewish families eat their meals in a Sukkah, a

temporary hut with a roof made of palm leaves. Each day of the holiday, Jews perform the “Lulav”

ritual, a blessing over four plant species, that symbolizes unity and, according to Jewish tradition,

channels positive energy to all of humankind.

The Sukkah at Grayston Shopping Centre joined a decades-old worldwide network of public sukkas.

Dr Yaniv Edenburg of the Ubuntu Family Health Centre in the Grayston Centre sponsored the

project. Rabbi Ari Shishler of Chabad Strathavon’s Jewish Life Centre and his children manned the

Sukkah each day. They were inundated by Jewish shoppers who eagerly used the facility, and by

South Africans of all walks of life who used the opportunity to learn more about the Jewish

community and its faith. One passer-by excitedly shared how he had once before been stopped to

perform the Lulav ritual at a public Sukkah- exactly forty years ago, at the original “Central City

Sukkah” outside the Carlton Centre in downtown Johannesburg. His fortuitous Sukkah encounter

was featured at the time in the then Rand Daily Mail.

“We had hoped the Sukkah would raise awareness of the holiday within the Jewish community,”

Rabbi Shishler explained, “But we did not expect such overwhelmingly positive interactions with

such a wide range of people”.

Rabbi Shishler intends to make the Grayston Sukkah an annual event.

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