Structures decorated with fruit and flowers spring up around Redbridge for Jewish holiday

Temporary dwellings with laurel leaf roofs decorated inside with fruit and flowers have sprung up in synagogues and Jewish schools around the borough.

The structures, known as sukkah, form part of the Sukkot festival which is one of three mandatory festivals stated in the Torah.

Traditionally, people would leave their houses for the duration of the seven day festival and live in the temporary structures, but today people usual just eat their meals in the sukkah.

Rabbi David Hulburt, of Bet Tikvah Synagogue, Perrymans Farm Road, Newbury Park, said: “It’s the Jewish biblically ordained autumn festival from working with the harvest of taking in the grapes and turning them into wine. We are commanded to build a temporary dwelling place outside our house.”

It is believed the tradition dates back to when the harvest was gathered and people would create the shelters to eat and nap in away from the heat of the sun.

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Mr Hulbert said: “When people went to get the harvest in, people slept out in the fields. They would have their lunch in the sukkah or booths to get away from the heat.”

People started building the sukkah on Thursday as they had to be completed by yesterday evening.

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“It’s changed of the years because people don what pneumonia so we reinterpret it as eating and drinking so we decamp for our meals, and after the service we receive bread and wine out in the sukkah,” said Mr Hulbert.

The festival is held in the middle of the lunar month which this year was yesterday.

Children at Ilford Jewish Primary School, Carlton Drive, Barkingside, made decorations last week ready to be put up in their very own sukkah at school.

Headteacher Roz Levin said: “It’s fundamental to celebrating the festival and the children will eat their meals in there. We are teaching the children to live a Jewish life.”

The festival follows four days after Yom Yippur, one of the holiest days in the Jewish year, which is a day of reflection and atonement.

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