Jewish Agency Announces Sukkathon 2013 Winners

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Sukkahs from New York, Pennsylvania, and Be'er Sheva share the title of Number One Sukkah in the World, selected out of dozens of nominations sent from Jewish communities across six continents.

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One of the winning Sukkahs was constructed at Terrace-on-the-Glen, an assisted-living facility in Queensbury, NY

The Jewish Agency thanks the many communities, families, and individuals from around the world for welcoming us into their sukkahs throughout the Sukkot holiday.

The Jewish Agency for Israel today announced the winners of its inaugural Sukkathon competition. Dozens of nominations poured in from Jewish communities across six continents throughout the Sukkot holiday, which ends today. Three sukkahs-two from the United States and one from Israel-will share the title of Number One Sukkah in the World, after the judges conceded that they could not choose just one.

Architect Pam Davidson, an olah (immigrant to Israel) from South Africa and one of the competition judges, named the sukkah at Terrace at the Glen-an assisted living facility in Queensbury, New York-as her first place selection. "I loved the raw construction of the walls and the simplicity of the pumpkin decorations," said Davidson, who chose the Sheldon family sukkah in Sydney, Australia, and Elliot Dreyfuss's sukkah on the Upper West Side of New York City as her second and third place selections.

UK art critic Julia Weiner, a second judge, named the Schachter family sukkah in Pennsylvania as her top choice. "My favorite was the beautiful Harvest Sukkah from Pennsylvania," said Weiner. "I love the way the harvest theme has been incorporated into the structure, yet it is still very striking with its colorful garland of vibrant red, orange and yellow flowers providing a contrast to the green of the corn. I wish I could see the interior." Weiner named the sukkah of Congregation Rodeph Shalom in Philadelphia-made entirely of recycled materials-as her second place pick, and placed Judy Kaufthal's Westhampton "seashell sukkah" third.

Finally, Betina Schnaid-an artist who made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) from Brazil and participated in The Jewish Agency's Ulpan Etzion program in Jerusalem-selected the sukkah of The Jewish Agency's Ye'elim Immigrant Absorption Center in Be'er Sheva, Israel. "We are starting a New Year and these olim (immigrant) children represent the real hope in this country," said Schnaid about the nomination photo, which depicted five young immigrants to Israel. "I wish for them to be happy in Israel for many years, and that each one give the best of themselves to improve this country and that the ceiling gets higher over the time and that they will have their own families in Israel. The sky is the limit for these beautiful olim!"

Dozens of Jewish communities, families, synagogues, Hillels, youth groups, and individuals nominated their sukkahs for the title, and submissions came in from as far away as Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Puerto Rico, Australia, South Africa, the United States, Canada, Greece, Poland, and the United Kingdom, as well as from throughout Israel. The nominations were received via email, Twitter, and Instagram, and were posted on Facebook for the enjoyment of the general public. According to Facebook data, tens of thousands of people viewed the photographs throughout the campaign.

"The Jewish Agency thanks the many communities, families, and individuals from around the world for welcoming us into their sukkahs throughout the Sukkot holiday,” said Tali Aronsky, The Jewish Agency’s director of communications for North America. “Campaigns such as this one serve to highlight both the diversity and the unity of the Jewish people, and the use of social media has enabled tens of thousands of people to join in the celebration from across the globe. We look forward to continuing to bring the global Jewish family together, both in the physical realm and in cyberspace."

All of the nominees may be viewed at For more information on the judges' selections, please see

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Joshua Berkman
Jewish Agency for Israel
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