Sukkah Soul was featured in The Forward

Sukkah Soul was featured in The Forward
An excerpt from The Forward article
“Sukkot: From Humble to Inspired”

There's something magical about being inside of a sukkah; as Jewish commentators note, residing in the sukkah is one of the few commandments you fulfill with your entire body. Sure, it can seem a bit strange, especially in places like New York, where eating outside in October often means wearing a ski jacket. But there's also a sense of being protected, perhaps not by sturdy brick walls but by what the Jewish liturgy calls "the tabernacle (sukkah) of peace."

Still, there's no question that building a sukkah takes a lot of work — which is why those ready-made sukkah kits fetch anywhere from $300 to $2,000 for a single-family size.....

And some, like SukkahSoul, are basically selling works of art....SukkahSoul is the work of Susan Shender, an architect who was inspired to create a more aesthetically appealing sukkah kit after erecting a kit made up of “unmarked pieces of unattractive pine and hardware store connectors.” Shender said that “the design problem captured my imagination.” She worked under the belief that the rabbinic obligation of hiddur mitzvah (the fulfillment of a commandment) could extend not just to decorating the sukkah but also to designing it.

The result is a delicate looking but architecturally sound construction of thin poles with cedar and translucent fabric sides. Inspired by the way that the Ten Sefirot — prisms of divine energy, according to Kabbalah — are arranged in the popular Tree of Life, the SukkahSoul design has triangular elements as well as rectangular ones. The Sefirot are already connected to the Sukkot holiday — they are represented by the seven ushpizin (mystical guests) invited to the sukkah over the course of the week. The SukkahSoul design weaves them into the architecture; if you look at it, you can almost see the Tree of Life in front of you, cradling the guests of the sukkah within its branches. Shender said, “I hope people find as much meaning and beauty in the structure of the SukkahSoul sukkah as I have in designing it.”

By Jay Michaelson
The Forward
October 14, 2005