Anshe Emet Synagogue Announces National Design Competition: Chicago Sukkah Expo '16

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Every sukkah is unique, stamped with the personality of the creator and each sukkah remains, in its simplest form, a shelter. The outward simplicity of a traditional sukkah opens the way to creativity and marks the complexity of what shelter represents to many people around the world.

Chicago Sukkah Expo ’16 is a national design competition that challenges entrants to re-imagine the sukkah. The sukkah, a temporary structure that is built during the Jewish festival of Sukkot, commemorates the 40 years that Jews spent wandering the desert (Leviticus 23:42-43). The impermanence of the sukkah reminds us that many community members do not have adequate shelter and are threatened by the dangers of homelessness; we must devote attention and support to those without a permanent home.

Invitations are extended to all architects, builders, artists, planners, interior designers, and students in related disciplines to design and build a sukkah. Entry fees are $48 + administrative fee for professional entrants and $24 + fee for students. Our esteemed jury will select 8 winning renderings which participants will develop into models that will create an exposition at Anshe Emet Synagogue in September and October 2016. First place prize is $3,000. The models will be auctioned off and net proceeds from the premiere reception will benefit The ARK.

“Sukkot is the only holiday in the Torah where happiness is a command: ‘and you will rejoice in your festival’ Deuteronomy 16:14 (Ve’Samachta Be’Chagecha). The temporary nature of the dwelling is a reminder to us of our vulnerability not only in the desert experience of the Exodus, but also throughout Jewish history,” remarked Rabbi Siegel, Anshe Emet Synagogue’s senior rabbi. “Anshe Emet is honored to bring Chicago Sukkah Expo ’16 as an educational opportunity to the city of Chicago, which highlights the holiday of Sukkot and brings crucial awareness to the plight of the homeless in our community. We are thrilled that the ARK is our partner in this special endeavor.”

“The Chicago Sukkah Expo ’16 is a wonderful, tangible expression of Sukkot that encompasses far more than just history. Like Noah’s ARK, the Sukkah represents the theme of protection that has long been one of the guiding principles of The ARK. As the community’s resource for providing physical and spiritual shelter for our Jewish brethren in need, we are honored to participate in this project,” said Dr. Marc Swatez, executive director of The ARK.

For more information on Chicago Sukkah Expo ’16, including registration, fee, and requirements, visit

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Mimi Weisberg
Anshe Emet Synagogue
since: 02/2011
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