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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Jewish Aggies set up Sukkah on campus to celebrate Sukkot holiday

Students walking by Koldus to get to class last week would see what looked like this small hut among a brick facade, but for Jewish Aggies, the Sukkah represented much more than a temporary hut built on campus.

For the week of Oct. 16 to Oct. 23, the Chabad Jewish Center set up a Sukkah on campus to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. A Sukkah is a temporary hut made of materials from the earth, and the holiday enables Jewish followers to remember their ancient past-time and connect with God and fellow believers.

“It’s customary for students and people to dwell [in the Sukkah] for a week, eat meals and be in fellowship,” said Yossi Lazaroff, director of the Chabad Jewish Center. “It brings the joy of Sukkot, and the ability to partake in the festivities of the holiday to the center of campus.”

For Justin Katz, computer science senior, the Sukkah allowed him to practice his faith with the ease of being on campus.

“Having it on campus allows us to do activities that Jews are supposed to do during the week on campus,” Katz said. “Campus is the center of Aggieland, and it makes it easier for all people of the Jewish faith attending the university to practice Sukkot in the center of campus and invite everyone of faith to participate.”

The Sukkah has been set up on campus for the past nine years and has enabled Jews to publicly practice their religion, Katz said.

“[The Sukkah] means a lot because it means anybody of the Jewish faith or any faith has the ability to express their religion on campus,” Katz said. “It’s one thing to do it in the privacy of a church, synagogue or mosque, but it’s another to be able to practice your faith publicly on campus and not worry about what other people may think.”

With the Sukkah being in the center of campus, interested Aggies were able to stop by and learn about the religion.

“Not as many people are familiar with the Jewish faith, but they came and asked to learn and find out,” said Erin Vancrevele, atmospheric sciences junior. “I’m proud to say that people are so accepting.”

Vancrevele grew up in the Jewish faith and had fond memories with her family during the holiday, but said it has a new significance with her friends at college.

“It was different coming to college,” Vancrevele said. “I was away from my immediate family, but now I am with my Jewish Aggie family. Just being at the Sukkah and surrounded by my Jewish Aggie friends was special to me.”

Lazaroff said the holiday is a special time for Jews and allows them to come closer with each other, with God and find their mission in life.

“We realize that each one of us has great potential,” Lazaroff said. “The fact that we wake up every morning means we still have work to do, to live life to the fullest, and the Sukkah reminds us to do this.”

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