September 23, 2013
Jewish High Holy Days with the U.S. Army: Building a Sukkah in Kuwait

“Ok, Frommer, what’s your Religious Support Plan for the feast of Suck-it?”  I almost laughed, but when a superior officer asks you a serious question in the U.S. Army, that’s usually not the best response. Every year, Jews around the world build and dwell in temporary booths called sukkot, just as our biblical ancestors did on their journey from Egypt to the Land of Israel.  In 2012, as the only Jewish chaplain stationed in Kuwait, the festival of Sukkot was clearly in my Area of Responsibility, and as the first cantor ever to serve in military chaplaincy, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be the last.  “Sir, I’ll make sure the Jewish soldiers have the sukkah they need,” I answered smartly.  It was a plan as simple as it was foolproof, except for one tiny detail.  I had no idea how I was going to do it.
Perhaps I might have been more prepared if I’d grown up like everyone else I seemed to meet in the Army—on a farm in the Midwest, chopping down trees and handcrafting pigpens.  As it happened, my childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan involved plenty of construction, but mostly with Lincoln Logs and Lego sets, and always following the directions.  One year my family actually tried to assemble a life-size sukkah at our summer home in Claverack and though we never completed the project, we became too emotionally attached to our modest progress to ever dismantle it.  The PVC pipes of our unfinished attempt remained in the backyard for a decade, standing amidst plant growth like some ancient ruin, silently waiting for UNESCO to arrive and add it to the World Heritage List. 
Read more. [Image: David Frommer]

Jewish High Holy Days with the U.S. Army: Building a Sukkah in Kuwait

“Ok, Frommer, what’s your Religious Support Plan for the feast of Suck-it?”  I almost laughed, but when a superior officer asks you a serious question in the U.S. Army, that’s usually not the best response. Every year, Jews around the world build and dwell in temporary booths called sukkot, just as our biblical ancestors did on their journey from Egypt to the Land of Israel.  In 2012, as the only Jewish chaplain stationed in Kuwait, the festival of Sukkot was clearly in my Area of Responsibility, and as the first cantor ever to serve in military chaplaincy, I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be the last.  “Sir, I’ll make sure the Jewish soldiers have the sukkah they need,” I answered smartly.  It was a plan as simple as it was foolproof, except for one tiny detail.  I had no idea how I was going to do it.

Perhaps I might have been more prepared if I’d grown up like everyone else I seemed to meet in the Army—on a farm in the Midwest, chopping down trees and handcrafting pigpens.  As it happened, my childhood on the Upper East Side of Manhattan involved plenty of construction, but mostly with Lincoln Logs and Lego sets, and always following the directions.  One year my family actually tried to assemble a life-size sukkah at our summer home in Claverack and though we never completed the project, we became too emotionally attached to our modest progress to ever dismantle it.  The PVC pipes of our unfinished attempt remained in the backyard for a decade, standing amidst plant growth like some ancient ruin, silently waiting for UNESCO to arrive and add it to the World Heritage List.

Read more. [Image: David Frommer]

  1. wendelah reblogged this from theatlantic
  2. israelplustheworld reblogged this from girlactionfigure
  3. ayoretofficial reblogged this from theatlantic
  4. mens-rea reblogged this from theatlantic
  5. livingintheshadowrealm reblogged this from jayblakkbird
  6. jayblakkbird reblogged this from theatlantic
  7. actualnerdmitunacaptor reblogged this from esotericlinguist
  8. esotericlinguist reblogged this from sosungalittleclodofclay
  9. sosungalittleclodofclay reblogged this from theatlantic
  10. agelaius reblogged this from theatlantic
  11. penguinapocalypse reblogged this from girlactionfigure
  12. donttreadonvirginia reblogged this from girlactionfigure
  13. girlactionfigure reblogged this from eretzyisrael
  14. pappito reblogged this from ukridge
  15. curliestofcrowns reblogged this from erinburr
  16. erinburr reblogged this from thisfan
  17. thisfan reblogged this from theatlantic
  18. diegsfcb reblogged this from theatlantic
  19. pdnocs reblogged this from theatlantic
  20. legacyphoenix reblogged this from theatlantic
  21. abszurdisztan reblogged this from eretzyisrael
  22. 2ofusridingnowhere reblogged this from theatlantic
  23. aly-queenofattolia reblogged this from theatlantic
  24. impendingdanger reblogged this from theatlantic
  25. jshpayher reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Awesome picture