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September 19, 2013 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-09-19

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metro >> on the cover

Recycled Sukkah

Old doors lend extra meaning
to the holiday.

Benji Rosenzweig I Special to the Jewish News

6881 Orchard Lake Rd. on The Boardwalk

In the sukkah: Sarah and Benji Rosenzweig with Ellah, 2 1/2, and Na'amah, 4.



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than we had room for, yet somehow
everyone had enough food. One meal
in particular was so cramped that my
sister Miryam and I (along with a couple
of other family friends) actually ate our
meals outside the door of the sukkah
because there was just no more room.
Another great memory took place on
the other side of the world. In 2000, I
was in a rooftop sukkah in the Old City
of Jerusalem and could hear families
from multiple different Sukkot gather-
ings singing together — it was a special
This year, my wife and I are finally
living in a house (not an apartment),
and we and our two girls have the
opportunity to build a sukkah for the
first time. I had been thinking about
Sukkot since we moved in February.
What does a sukkah represent to me?
Should I go old school and build one
with wood panels like my grandfather
did? Nope, too vanilla for me. Should
I get the PVC or metal pipes and have
a prefab canvas sukkah? Nope, those
never did it for me. So, what was I going
to do?
Over the past year, I started get-
ting fresh food from a friend's farm in
Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood.
I told him I have always wanted to
compost. The idea of giving back to the
land is important to me. He said I could
bring the scraps and peels to his house,
and we would feed the compost to his

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September 19 • 2013


chickens. Now this has become part of
our family routine. I take my daughters
to his farm every couple of weeks to feed
the chickens and check out what new
things are happening there.

Natural And Organic

It occurred to me at the beginning of the
summer that the sukkah is supposed to
be made from a natural material. This
falls right in line with the natural and
organic life I am trying to live. Shouldn't
my sukkah be some sort of recycled or
repurposed sukkah?
It took a few weeks of evaluating
materials to come up with the right
choice. Wooden 2x4s are too heavy, and
it would be too difficult to make a suk-
kah out of them. Pallets are too breezy.
Bales of hay smell funky. Then I realized
there are tons of old doors out there I
could use.
I posted on Facebook and asked
people if they had any extra doors with
character that I could have. I got about
half the doors I needed from that post.
My friend Danny and I garbage picked
("urban mined") a couple of doors from
the curb. Finally, a client of mine, Jim
Jenkins of Jenkins Construction, gave
me a bunch of doors from a demolition
site. I had just enough material to put
up the sukkah with the help of a slew of
friends from The Shul.
My girls absolutely love the sukkah
and its uniqueness. We will swap some
of the doors out over the years, but
we will have this sukkah for years to

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