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The East London Sukkah

The East London Sukkah

20-29 September 2010
Spitalfields City Farm
Buxton Street
London E1 5AR
United Kingdom

Sukkah: A temporary, organic and transient dwelling growing out of Jewish tradition to celebrate the harvest.

The sukkah is a Jewish tradition, built during the festival of Sukkot, in September/October. While there are many rituals surrounding the festival, the building, and living in the sukkah is the essence of Sukkot. Traditionally Jews eat all their meals and sleep in the sukkah for the entire week, as well as inviting guests. Symbolically the sukkah is linked to the tent of Abraham, the Biblical paradigm of hospitality, as well as to the chuppah, the Jewish wedding canopy.

In September 2010, we built a Sukkah in Spitalfileds Farm, in East London with 150 children and activists from all faiths and backgrounds. A temporary, organic and transient dwelling growing out of Jewish tradition to celebrate the harvest. A building across faiths and cultures, coming together under its shelter to share meals, talks, performances and dialogues on food, faith and community. The Sukkah programme included speakers, artists, religious teachers (of many faiths), activists, radicals and mischief-makers to explore and create and explore a temporary and ephemeral society to imagine and dream of alternative ways of living.

At the end of an extraordinary week, culminating in dancing to live klezmer in pouring rain and mud, The East London Sukkah came to an end. Talks on veganism, squatting, anti-aviation activism, faith, migration and the French state, radical Judaism, films on UK eco-activism, the Yes Men and Punk Jews, music from klezmer bands, inculding The Merlin and Polina Shepherd Quartet and Muslim poets and activists Poetic Pilgrimage, meals both real and conceptual, and an amazing number of diverse and wonderful participants.

The Sukkah was an experiment in public space - one that was defined, yet op

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