Archive for October 16th, 2011

Sukkot in Rural Maine

Our sukka in our home town. The canvas walls are decorated with puffy paint illustrations. (click to enlarge)

Some of you may remember a blog entry way back in October 2010 when I mentioned a Jewish couple we met in rural Maine that I called “the P’s” (click on this link, “Shabbat in the Maine Woods,”  to read the original post).  They host a Passover Seder every year at their home on a mountaintop, and about 40 Jews from a 100-mile radius show up year after year.  It’s not kosher nor is it religious, but I think it’s a beautiful and amazing thing that completely unaffiliated and assimilated Jews, living far from any Jewish community life, desire to celebrate and commemorate the exodus and redemption of Jews from Egypt.

One of the people in this group of “Jews in the woods” is a young man whose interest goes beyond Passover, and he began studying more about Judaism and eventually found an online study partner.  The study partner is a young rabbinical student in Brooklyn, affiliated with Chabad.  When the young man learned about the holiday of Sukkot last year, he said he wished he could somehow find a way to celebrate the holiday with a real sukka.  So the rabbinical student got together with a few of his yeshiva friends, rented a U-Haul pickup truck, built a sukkah on the back of the truck, and drove all the way to rural Maine to the P’s mountaintop to celebrate the intermediary days (chol hamoed Sukkot) with any Jews the young man and the P’s could round up.  They served bagels, lox, and cream cheese; the Chabadniks discussed the holiday and threw in some music and dancing, and a great time was had by all.  About 20 people participated.

Currently we are in our home town for the holidays, because my husband enjoys davening with a minyan over the holidays and we also relish spending time over holiday meals with our children and grandchildren.  I confess, however, that I was a little disappointed that I could not accept the P’s invitation when they sent me this email from Maine:

“We are once again having a Sukkos celebration in Maine thanks to the Lubavitchers of Brooklyn!
This year we will be creating our own Sukkah.
In addition, ALL food will be provided.

Please come on Sunday, Oct 16th @ 3PM.
Since they will be providing all of the food – it will be kosher- this is not a potluck.

We need to be able to give them numbers as soon as possible.
Please RSVP no later than this coming Thursday, Oct. 13th.

The sukkah will not be rolling in from Brooklyn this year.
Instead, it will be built right here. Hope you can come.”

Here are some pictures from last year’s event:

Have Sukkah, Will Travel: Chabad travelled 7 hours from Brooklyn to a rural Maine mountaintop