Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I took a side trip to Crown Heights today, to pick up some stuff during 40% Sale Season at the official Lubavitch bookstore. Wandered up & down the streets a bit, passed by my great-grandfather's house (which is still a gutted shell - President just west of Brooklyn), ducked into the 770 bathroom (maintenance standards have gone way down - the whole area stinks). And looked at the sukkah-mobiles.

What's a sukkah-mobile? It's a small sukkah built on the back of a pickup truck. One drives to a location passed by lots of Jews, and stands outside with a lulav and esrog, asking:

- are you Jewish? [if yes]
- do you want to make a blessing on the lulav? [if yes, do so, and ask]
- do you want to have a bite in the sukkah?

If they come into the sukkah, you can have a nice chat about Judaism, hand them some flyers about upcoming programs, etc.

I used to work the Lincoln Square Synagogue sukkah-mobile, possibly the only non-Chabad sukkah-mobile, 30 years ago. They don't set it up any more, since their parking lot became yet another apartment tower. We had to get a specific truck from a specific rental agency (Handy Rent-All in White Plains), for which the plywood was cut to fit. We put bamboo on the roof, tied it all down, and drove carefully to 72nd St. and Broadway, where we set up for the day. Met some interesting people who I still see now & then, got to interact with a wide variety of people, and spread the Good Word - overall a good experience.

The Chabad sukkah-mobiles seem to be semi-standardized. There's a preprinted tarp that fits over a box made of 2x4's, you have some freedom how you want to build the box, and put it on the back of a current small pickup truck. Walking up and down Eastern Parkway and President Street, I saw well over a dozen of these things. They are clearly messianist projects - the tarps talk about welcoming Moshiach, and there are big yellow signs on the trucks saying Yechi with the Rebbe's picture.

Which leads to the question - WHY? Why build a dozen sukkah-mobiles just to keep them parked in Crown Heights? Why aren't they all over the city, at strategic intersections, bringing Jews back to Judaism? Why are they all on the street doing nothing at noon on Chol Hamoed?

1 comment:

Ralphie said...

I could use one over here at my office park.