For about four years I have been celebrating Sukkot with the help of a portable Pop-Up Sukkah that my father-in-law bought for me. It has helped me immensely in my process of growing as a Jew. Convenient as the Pop-Up Sukkah is, its size is very small, and my wife and I barely fit in there with a couple of TV trays as a makeshift table. The simple truth is that it was holding us, and me, from advancing in our observance of this holiday and this mitzvah.

For a couple of years I have been saying that I want to build a real sukkah, “whenever we have the space.” But we’re still here, at our apartment of 5 years, and it simply was time. With my wife’s encouragement, this year I decided to actually build our first sukkah. I looked online for plans to follow, and basically put one together out of a bunch of (way more complicated than they need to be) plans I saw. A trip to Home Depot to check out the available materials gave us the info we needed, and on Sunday, Oct. 12 — my birthday — I went to Home Depot and got all the stuff I needed to build our sukkah.

I started it yesterday afternoon and we got the whole frame up and ready by the time we went to sleep. This morning I woke up to torrential rains in Miami Beach (which is why you buy the pre-treated wood, because it ALWAYS rains for Sukkot) but by noon it had cleared up, so I was able to put the roof on. I stripped the two palm trees next to my apartment of all their fronds (the roof of a sukkah must be made of schach, organic material that grew from the ground but is now disconnected from it, with palm fronds being the traditional, and regional, choice). And that’s it! Our first sukkah is now built and ready.

Our Sukkah

Check out the slideshow below or on Flickr: Our First Sukkah set.

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