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Designing a Kosher Sukkah

Most contemporary sukkahs, with their snap-together frames, their plastic tarp walls and their bamboo mat schach, or roofing material, bear little resemblance to the high-concept huts that went up over the weekend in New York’s Union Square. The booths erected in the downtown park — winning entries in the Sukkah City design competition — might look more at home in a sculpture garden than in a suburban backyard or on synagogue grounds, but they were held to the strict Jewish legal standards that dictate all sukkah-building. As Sukkah City’s rabbinic consultant, Dani Passow was charged with communicating the religious guidelines to contest finalists. Passow, a rabbinical student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, spoke recently with the Forward about which of the designs took the most work to be made kosher and what contemporary architects have in common with Talmudic-era rabbis.

The designs selected as finalists will be on view in Union Square on September 19 and 20. One winning entry will remain on display through October 2; vote for the winner here.

Watch the Forward’s video of the final designs on location in Union Square here.

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