When one thinks of Jewish holidays and traditions, pickup trucks may not immediately come to mind. However, one truck will make it possible for many Jews in the Columbia area to celebrate according to their faith this week.
Sukkot, the Festival of the Booths, began Friday evening and ends after nightfall Oct. 9. The holiday is celebrated by eating in a sukkah, an outdoor temporary structure covered with vegetation or bamboo that commemorates the time the Jews wandered in the desert wilderness and the miraculous clouds that tradition and faith say surrounded them.
COVID-19 makes the celebration difficult, as with many other events, so Chabad of South Carolina will be visiting homes with a mobile sukkah from Monday through Friday. Health precautions, including social distancing, hand sanitizer and disinfectant products will ensure that everyone can safely participate in this holiday observance.
“Our goal is to make Judaism and Jewish practice accessible to every one of Columbia’s Jews,” said Rabbi Levi Marrus, program director of Chabad of South Carolina. “That’s why this year, we’re bringing the sukkah-mobile to the homes of people who want to join in the celebration.”
The mobile sukkah has been constructed on the back of a pickup truck. Chabad of South Carolina has also made sets of the Four Species available to the faithful. The Four Species (etrog fruit, lulav palm branch, and willow and myrtle twigs) are another part of Sukkot tradition.
“Amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the message of Sukkot rings loud and clear,” said Marrus. “We eat in the sukkah to emphasize we all rely on God’s protection. We bring together the Four Species to emphasize the importance of unity even while we are each unique and diverse. These timeless messages guide us through these unprecedented times.”
More information on Sukkot and other events is available at chabadofsc.com.