This is our third Sukkos since moving to Israel in August 2011. The first year we were able to use the sukka of the shul close to our home and made a small sukkah on our porch for sleeping and snacking (we don’t have a yard). Last year we built our own sukka in our parking lot but it was small, and with just three guests we felt we were really stretching the space limitations.
This year ds14 had a brainstorm! He realized if he used the same number of boards but left one side of the sukka open, he could double the size of the sukka. He and ds20 put it all together and it worked out beautifully! It’s not as large as our sukka in the US, which was 16′ x 20′, but at 16′ x 12′ it’s a comfortable size and we’re delighted with his idea. Unfortunately I didn’t know we’d have this much room so I couldn’t invited guests until the last minute, by which point everyone was booked. That’s okay. Ds20 and dd17 are home so it’s almost a full house – just dd18 is missing. (And we really, really miss her.)
A parking lot might sound like a seedy place for a sukka but in our case it’s a quiet and private location. There are five buildings like ours on the street and we share a large lot with the building next door; the other three buildings have limited spots in front of the buildings and no lot. Our parking lot has 20 spots for the twenty families in the two buildings, and at least ten of those families don’t have a car. And since I live at the end of a street, almost everyone prefers to park in front of the building instead of in the lot. That means that at least 3/4 of the lot is usually empty – we’re very blessed in having so much space to use. Our sukka is on the far side of the lot, which is paved with brick and surrounded by hedges and flowers.
It’s a little bit of a walk to the sukka from our house – about two minutes – but we try to be organized and bring out everything at one time after washing for hamotzi so we don’t have to go up and down. Then when we finish our meal we bring everything back in at one shot – it works as long as everyone takes something! Last year the kids loved it – the lot is lit so even at night they could run around outside and make noise without it bothering anyone. Since I try to be careful about noise due to having neighbors underneath us, this was very relaxing for us all!
Here’s a view of the inside. I did warn the kids I was going to post this on my blog so they should get out of the picture, but they didn’t pay attention. So now you see what our spontaneous life looks like!
Here’s the open side of the sukka. As you can see, it faces hedges that are about eight (10?) feet high so we have privacy in addition to lovely greenery surrounding us and lack of a wall between where the sukka ends and the hedges begins makes the sukka feel much bigger than it is. Ds is standing next to the pole which is the halfway point in the picture below – that’s where the sukka ended last year before it was extended.
We got ready early enough that there was time for everyone to relax a little midday.
For those of you celebrating Sukkos, from our family to yours, have a wonderful holiday!