Group takes Jewish holiday Sukkot on the road

Susan Whaley

The Idaho Statesman | Edition Date: 10-07-2004

You may have spotted a gray Honda with a "Rabbi" vanity plate towing a small wooden booth around town with a banner wishing you a Happy Sukkot.


The week-long holiday is a time to honor God's kindness while the Jewish people were in the desert during the Exodus.

Representatives of Chabad Lubavitch of Idaho, an organization devoted to traditional Jewish practices, parked their mobile "Sukkah on Wheels" at various locations downtown to raise awareness and to give Jews who may not be affiliated with a group or synagogue a chance to participate in the ancient holiday.

The sukkah, built according to strict religious codes, is used as a place to eat and pray during Sukkot. Visitors were offered refreshments, in keeping with the holiday's customs.

On a table were a citron, a citrus fruit like a lemon native to Israel — called an "etrog" in Hebrew — and a tidy bunch of palm, myrtle and willow branches. They formed "The Four Kinds," which were shaken to remind one of the importance of getting along with all people.

"It is a means of connecting with God," explained Rabbi Zalman Mendelsohn. "One can be a better person by doing something that is asked of us by God."

Today and Friday, Chabad members will mark the end of Sukkot with eating, talking and praying in the sukkah.

Chabad Lubavitch is an international Jewish organization that embraces the faith's age-old traditions. The group's mission is to promote and strengthen Jewish awareness, pride and observance and to offer education, cultural and social activities to all Jewish individuals and families.

Rabbi Mendel Lifshitz recently established a chapter in the Treasure Valley. For more information, call him at 853-9200.