NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It’s known as the harvest festival Sukkot — a Jewish observance that’s among the most joyous.
Starting at sundown Wednesday night, followers around the world over will build Sukkahs, or huts, to symbolize the temporary dwellings that the Israelites lived in while wandering the desert for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt.
“It’s just something that you have since you’re little. Something you enjoy,” Risha Machlis of Brooklyn told CBS 2′s Scott Rapoport.
Starting Wednesday and for the next 7 nights, observant Jews will dwell and have meals inside Sukkahs, including in places like Union Square, Bryant Park and Madison Park.
In Orthodox Borough Park, Brooklyn, the scope of the preparation for the holiday was in full display.
“The focus on this holiday is about bringing many kinds of people together as one,” Rabbi Yakov Bankhalter said.
The Sukkahs are usually decorated with fruits, vegetables and other festive items. The roof of the structure is made of things from the ground — including branches, leaves and bamboo.
“We’re kind of open to the elements and we rely upon God to protect us and make sure that we’re safe and protected,” Rabbi Levi Shmotkin said.
There are the four species that are held together and waved — the willow, the lulav, the myrtle and the etrog and the shaking of them together to become one.