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Do It in the Sukkah! 70+ Sukkah Activities

beautiful sukkahWhat can we do in a sukkah?

How can we make the week of dwelling in the sukkah as much fun as building and decorating it can be?

Build Together Then Create New Memories Together

My most abiding Jewish childhood memory took place during Sukkot. I recall with joy being with my parents as they helped build the sukkah at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Together we measured and sawed; we hammered and nailed. It took all day, and everyone had fun.

While writing our book, Jewish Spiritual Parenting (Jewish Lights Publishing), my wife Michelle November and I realized that many of our own family’s fond memories include sukkah building with three generations. Grandparents join us in the backyard. None of us is particularly handy with tools, yet we get the job done, creating and adorning the temporary dwelling. The frame is constructed, the palm fronds affixed on top, and the beautification occurs as each family member digs into the boxed collection of Sukkot decorations and hangs fall-colored fabric leaves, faux fruit, and dried flowers.

Do It in the Sukkah: Build Family, Community and Peace-of-Mind 

Patti Wolfson Sukkah
Congregation Or Ami’s Sukkah gathering at Miss Patti’s home

Then the real fun began. Sukkah building bonded our mishpacha together, reinforcing a fun-centric perspective on Jewish life, and providing unadulterated fun! Dwelling in the sukkah connected our guests into community. Sitting alone in the sukkah, doing our favorite things, calmed the soul and brought peace of mind. Besides eating and sleeping in the sukkah, what other sukkah activities can we do?

Try This: Choose Among 70+ Fun-Filled Activities

The Favorite Sukkah-Dwelling Ideas courtesy of 50+ friends from the JEDLAB and Central Conference of American Rabbis Facebook Groups. All contributors listed below.

  1. Sing
  2. Shake the lulav and etrog with children.
  3. Chat
  4. Just sit and enjoy the warmth of the day, the sound of birds singing, the sun shining on the home-made decorations, and be happy
  5. Study
  6. Sip hot cider. (I love in Michigan; Sukkot is often chilly.)
  7. Eat Hungarian fish soup – a roadside eat outside dish in Hungary.
  8. Argue Israel’s politics
  9. Play guitar
  10. Napsukkot_sleep1
  11. Watch the birds at our feeder nearby
  12. Make friends with the neighbor’s cat who seems to like hanging out in the sukkah.
  13. Have friends over for a beer… then nap
  14. Read and drink tea
  15. Make decorations
  16. Study Talmud
  17. Work
  18. Make edible sukkah a with kids and adults of all ages
  19. Meditate
  20. Study Torah
  21. Hang out with friends and catch up
  22. Share a pre-Shabbat snack
  23. Watch movies
  24. Drink scotch and eat chocolate
  25. Have a dance party
  26. Wine and Cheese Tasting with friends
  27. Welcome friends.
  28. Color and do crafts with friends…that we can use to decorate the sukkah
  29. Learn Rambam Yomi (Daily Rambam Chapter)
  30. Entertain guests, Jews and Palestinians.
  31. Go to silly themed sukkah events: Hookah in the Sukkah. Beer in the Booth. Pizza in the Hut. Sushi in the Sukkah.
  32. Play scrabble
  33. Swat mosquitoes
  34. Watch the lunar eclipse
  35. Do yoga
  36. Look at all the decorations
  37. Breath. Contemplate. Sigh.
  38. Meet your weekly chevruta partner and study in the sukkah
  39. Hold book club meetings
  40. Invite the synagogue youth group for lasagna
  41. In a communal sukkah (owned by our Manhattan coop), we host a sukkah party for all the building’s shareholders, and it is the highlight of the holiday for me as it’s a real opportunity to welcome my non-Jewish neighbors to relax and share a bite to eat in the sukkah that also belongs to them. There are few better ways to enrich a neighborhood community than to build a temporary space and invite your neighbors in to play, socialize and relax together.
  42. We watched a football game in the sukkah while we decorated it – “hut hut hut”
  43. Look up through the schach at the sky and contemplate the vastness of the universe and our place in it
  44. Hold up an umbrella in it to keep the rain off you
  45. Mah Jong
  46. Tell stories
  47. Study Kohelet
  48. Tell people all about the ushpizin I put up this year.
  49. Teach kids at religious school and tell them about it.
  50. Do art projects (as long as it’s not too windy)
  51. Hang out and just be.
  52. Stay off wifi
  53. Drink really good tequila with good friends
  54. Drink wine and shake, shake, shake…shake your lulav!
  55. Jam with friends on guitar
  56. Play I-Spy. I hang up toys in the ceiling of the sukkah hidden in the decorations, and when the kids come in, they have to find them.
  57. Have a baby naming
  58. Enjoy Yom Tov (holy day) morning breakfast
  59. Pray
  60. Explain your decorations to guests
  61. Shake the lulav and etrog
  62. Write new ushpizin (lists of guests, historical/biblical/modern, to invite to your sukkah)
  63. Race vehicles made from sukkah decoration fruit
  64. Play board games
  65. Teach children how to hold and wave the lulav and etrog.
  66. Have a progressive dinner with the requirement to participate that you have to have a sukkah
  67. Have a contest to bring to sukkah new vegetables that weren’t routinely available as little as 10 years ago
  68. Eat unique dishes made from a newly identified vegetable (shehecheyanu dinner moment)
  69. Enjoy some good bourbon
  70. Tell Jewish ghost stories
  71. Savor a cup of coffee and delicious ruggelah
  72. Make Havdala

Oh, and one R-rated idea

Oh, and it’s a mitzvah to love your lover on a holy day. So enjoy that too! (But probably not in the communal sukkah.)

What’s your favorite Sukkah activity? Help us add to our list…

Contact me through this blog to add your own ideas.

Special Thanks for Sharing Favorite Ideas:

Joel Abramson, Ruth Adar, Pamela Barkley, Bernhardt, Barbara Leah Block, Barry Block, Karen Bodney-Halasz, Joanna Brichetto, Bill Bronstein, Sarah Burns, Shariee Calderone, EJ Cohen, Geoffrey Dennis, Heather Erez, Prima Edizione Fiat, Jonathan Fisch, Jonathan Freund, Elaine Rose Glickman, Ash Gray, Beth Hamon, Aileen Heiman, Leah Herzog, Steph Hollander, Marc D Israel, Shoshana Jackson, Marisa Elana James, Steve Kerbel, Jessie Kerr-Whitt, Elisa Koppel, Howard Laibson, Sari Laufer, Hope Levav, Lori Lippitz, Eric Mendelsohn, Joseph B. Meszler, Rachel Meytin, Debi Swedelson Mishael, Fred Natkin, David Novak, Michelle November, Aviva Perlman, Daniel Plotkin, Candace Plotsker-Herman, Victoria Ritter, Andi Rosenthal, Shari Herman Rothstein, Sheryl Sacharoff, Bettina Schwarzman, Lori Ann Schulman, Tamara Lawson Schuster, Joshua Segal, Benjamin Sharff, Sara Shapiro-Plevan, Todd Silverman, Marcy Stieglitz, Kathryn Teale, Paula Tucker, Zahava Tzipora, Becca Weiner, Reuven Werber, Ira Wise, Ahuva Zaches, Leah Zigmond, Jennifer Rudick Zunikoff.

For more ideas about celebrating Sukkot and/or bringing Jewish spirituality into your and your family’s life, check out our book, Jewish Spiritual Parenting.


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