Congregation keeps tradition alive with its unique ‘Sukkah on Wheels’

Congregation keeps tradition alive with its unique ‘Sukkah on Wheels’
Congregation Dor Chadash Rabbi Jonathan Tabachnikoff (left) and Cantor Don Bennett visited congregants’ homes with a mobile “Sukkah on Wheels.”

Congregation Dor Chadash, one of South Florida’s most active, community-oriented synagogues, continued that tradition recently as it marked the Jewish holiday of Sukkot — which celebrates Biblical harvest times — by visiting congregants’ homes with a unique “Sukkah on Wheels.”

“In this day and age of COVID, when we only see our Dor Chadash family virtually, this seemed like a really fun way to reach out to congregants,” said Rabbi Jonathan Tabachnikoff. “People enjoyed seeing and being with each other again, even with masks on.”

The mobile sukkah, donated by congregant Les Oppenheim, owner of Catering by Les, one of South Florida’s top caterers, was driven to six different congregant houses by Tabachnikoff and Cantor Don Bennett. Representing the makeshift huts used in harvesting, the Dor Chadash sukkah contained a variety of treats and drinks enjoyed by congregants at each stop.

“People, particularly the kids and grandkids of congregants, really enjoyed our Sukkah on Wheels,” Tabachnikoff said with a smile. “It was just great to be able to see so many people, celebrate Sukkot and enjoy each other’s company.”

Dor Chadash, a unique blend of both Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism, has been a leader in adapting to the COVID-restricted era. The synagogue was among the first to do virtual Friday night Shabbat services (which draw attendees from around the country) and has a week full of virtual activities for congregants, including Tuesday afternoon “Nosh and Learn with the Rabbi,” Tuesday evening’s “Temple Toast” happy hour, and Thursday’s popular online, interactive cooking/baking class.

“It is vital for congregations of all denominations to stay in constant touch with their congregants,” Tabachnikoff said. “We’ve chosen to do it in a fun, interactive manner because that is what the times call for. While we can’t be together as a congregation in person, we can be virtually and in spirit.”

For more information on Dor Chadash, including membership, contact temple administrator Roxana Rapaport at 305-595-3838.

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