With the Jewish high holidays fast approaching, some of us are thinking about honey recipes, sustainable festive meals, and sukkahs (or temporarily erected shelters). The folks over at Washington University in St. Louis (WUSL) certainly have sukkahs on the brain, as they are preparing to host Sukkah City 2011, a design competition similar to the one held in New York last year. The theme of this year’s Sukkah City will be “Defining and Defying Boundaries”, asking participants to focus on the material, cultural or metaphorical boundaries that may influence our lives and define the ways that we relate to an increasingly global society.
Artists, architects and designers of all faiths are invited to submit their designs, with 10 to be selected for construction by the competition panel. The panel will be diverse as well, including environmental designer Mitchell Joachim, architect Carol Ross Barney, Rabbi Hyim Shafner, and Bruce Lindsey, a Professor for Community Collaboration at WUSL.
Rabbi Andrew Kastner of the St. Louis Hillel student organization said of the competition that “the biblical narrative of the Sukkah commemorates the temporary dwellings of the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. But it also represents universal ideas of transience and permanence, as expressed through architecture and ritual.”
“The Sukkah is a means of ceremonially practicing homelessness, while at the same time maintaining a close proximity to the comforts of our modern, sheltered world,” Kastner continued.
It is also a means of remembering how to live more simply and closer to nature. Perhaps some of the protesters in Tel Aviv’s recent ‘tent city’ experienced some of these feelings.
Read more about Sukkot::
“Ye Shall Live in Booths” And Be With Nature During Sukkot
Build Next Year’s Sukkah With Hybrid Bamboo (aka Solar Schach)
Which Earthy, Temporary Home Would You Choose? Sukkah City, NYC 2010