ALBANY– Fifty people recently joined together for meals during the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District’s (HACD) annual “Share Your Sukkah” meal program. The program, now in its third year, matches up school families to enjoy a meal together in a host family’s sukkah. This year, eight different meals were held during the holiday.
The “Share Your Sukkah” event reflects Hebrew Academy’s emphasis on community building, according to administrators. Matches were made so that families newer to the school community got to meet families who have been at Hebrew Academy for much longer, while families with younger students got to spend time with families with children in higher grades.
“One of the special things about Hebrew Academy is how it feels like one big family,” said Sylva Menard, organizer of this year’s event and parent of an HACD fourth and sixth-grader. “Programs like this—where we can really get to know each other—help the school community feel even more close-knit.”
“It was a treat to get to share a meal with a family I hadn’t spent much time with before,” said Martha Moscowitz, HACD board member and parent to second-grader Esme, who added that she really liked playing with her host family’s “cool Lego rocketship.”
The “Share Your Sukkah” program also ensured that all Hebrew Academy families had the chance to fulfill the mitzvah of dwelling in a sukkah (leisheiv ba’sukkah), even if they did not have a sukkah of their own. As HACD board president Nathan Graber, who hosted a “Share Your Sukkah” meal, explained, “At Hebrew Academy, we strive to create opportunities for our students to participate meaningfully in Jewish life outside the walls of the school.”
While the region saw some good weather for Sukkot this year, a couple of meals did have to move inside because of rain. Sixth-grader Noah Bizer, attending dinner at the home of HACD parents Seth and Amarit Rosenblum, was not too disappointed. “Despite the rain and cold weather, we still had a really great time.”