What a great way to start a new year - with a trip around the world!
In honor of the Sukkot holiday, The Jewish Agency for Israel launched a campaign to find the Number One Sukkah in the World. The competition, dubbed "Sukkathon 2013," invites Jewish individuals and communities around the world to submit photos of their sukkahs for consideration by a panel of judges.
The judges include the South African-Israeli architect Pam Davidson, UK art critic, curator and art history lecturer Julia Weiner, and artist Betina Schnaid, a recent immigrant to Israel from Brazil, who has participated in The Jewish Agency's Ulpan Etzion program in Jerusalem before representing Israel at the 2013 London Biennale.
We have received images from Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Krakow, New York,and many more communities from our global Jewish family.
Executive Director of the Jewish Community Center of Krakow, Jonthan Ornstein submitted a photograph of himself and their rabbi, Avi Baumol at the entrance to their brightly-colored sukkah. Ornstein calls the Krakow JCC, which enjoys 5,000 montly visitors, a "fascinating experiment." The Center reaches out to those who were afraid to be Jewish or who are only finding out from their parents or grandparents about their Jewish backgrounds.
The JCC also serves Krakow's older Jewish community of Holocaust survivors, providing them with a warm, welcoming space and full slate of social, educational and religious activities. "Our Krakow JCC and our beautiful sukkah - created by community members of all age - are located an hour's drive from Auschwitz but they are both colourful, hopeful, and optimistic and help tell the world that our people is not defined by the tragedy that befalls us but rather how we move on," Ornstein says.
Children from The Jewish Agency's Ye'elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be'er Sheva also submitted a photo of themselves in the absorption center sukkah, which they helped build and decorate. Hundreds of new immigrants living in the absorption center are preparing to celebrate their first Sukkot in Israel, as are thousands of other immigrants at Jewish Agency absorption centers around Israel. Some 350 individuals reside in Ye'elim, including some 130 children.
Photo submissions will be welcomed until, and including Monday, September 23, and the winner will be announced on the Hoshana Rabbah festival day, Wednesday 25 September.
Sukkathon photos may be submitted via email (to Number1Sukkah@gmail.com) or on Twitter or Instagram, using the hashtag #Number1Sukkah.
For more details about The Jewish Agency Sukkathon 2013/5774, click here.
We invite you to join in our journey with a sneak-peak of some of the submissions we have received so far - all contending for the title of Number One Sukkah on our Facebook page.
Which sukkah is your favorite?