Kent State Hillel holds outdoor event for Sukkot, Jewish holiday

Sophomore hospitality management major Amber Brown looks at the many signs depicting what makes students happy and what they feel home is on Thursday, Oct 20, 2016.

Emily Fulmer

Despite the rain on Thursday afternoon, Kent State’s Hillel still held the annual “Sukkah on the K” celebration of the Jewish holiday, Sukkot.

Because of the weather, however, Hillel made the decision to move its Sukkah from Risman Plaza to the sheltered overhang near the hub at the Student Center.

In Judaism, a Sukkah is a temporary shelter or hut with three walls and an open roof constructed during the week-long celebration of Sukkot.

The holiday of Sukkot celebrates the harvest and the fall season, and also commemorates the time when the Hebrews traveled from Egypt to Israel for 40 years.  

Lily Richman, a junior psychology major and member of Hillel’s student board, said the Hebrews lived in Sukkahs during the time they travelled to Israel.

The Sukkah on the K has drawn the attention of many Kent State students, both who are and are not a part of the Jewish community.

“We want to engage with everybody, particularly seeking out Jewish students so they can feel like they have a Jewish home,” Richman said. “We made this universal so everybody could be a part of it and see what our holidays are about.”

Some activities at the Sukkah included students writing down what makes them happy and what makes them feel at home to decorate the Sukkah. Members of Hillel’s student board facilitated the activities.

Adam Hirsh, Hillel’s assistant director, said Hillel builds a Sukkah each year and always tries to find different ways to put it on campus.

“We always try to put it in campus whenever we can, and we always choose the day the weather is terrible,” Hirsh said, jokingly. “But that’s part of Sukkot: It’s in fall for a specific reason.”

Hirsh said Hillel aims to provide some element of a Jewish holiday through open space Judaism in order to create awareness to the campus.

“I think it’s great to bring a really great cultural festival to the campus,” Hirsh said. “Hopefully a couple people walk away thinking it was neat and with a smile.”

Alana Bandos, Hillel’s student life coordinator, said the student board at Hillel planned and took care of the Sukkah on their own this year.

Bandos also said the concept of open space Judaism was created by another Jewish organization a few years ago.

“I would say that about 95 percent of the visitors who came by are not Jewish,” Bandos said.

Emily Fulmer is a religion reporter, contact her at [email protected]