It’s great to look back and reflect on the experiences that help us bond and share a culture with our fellow brothers and the Jewish community. One such experience for the Lambda Chapter at The University of Texas – Austin was building a sukkah for Sukkot last fall.
Sukkot is translated as the “Feast of Tabernacles” and is celebrated by eating in a booth-like structure called a sukkah. One of the customs of Sukkot is to welcome guests in to your sukkah. Rabbi Zev Johnson, the rabbi of Chabad on campus, invited Zeta Beta Tau members to achieve the mitzvah (commandment) of building a sukkah. Rabbi Zev shared what Sukkot means to him and the significance of building a sukkah. The Lambda brothers worked together to construct the sukkah and bonded over matzah-ball soup, bagels, lox and Hebrew music.
“This was an incredible experience as we were able to explore and celebrate our Jewish identities by getting involved in the Jewish community on campus,” said Brother Ethan B. Robinson, Lambda (University of Texas – Austin) 2021.
One brother had his first experience being wrapped in tefillin (leather straps traditionally wrapped around the head and arm) and being lifted in a chair with his brothers singing and dancing around him. A true Jewish experience!
“Building the sukkah at Chabad was a very meaningful experience for me,” said Brother Jed H. Golman, Lambda (University of Texas – Austin) 2017. “Since leaving home and moving to college, life has been very fast paced, class after class, paper after paper, and exam after exam. It had become really easy to take everything for granted – the fact that I had a place to sleep every night, friends to hang out with, and food to eat at every meal. However, when asked to help build the sukkah at Chabad, everything stopped. I was able to take a step back from the fast-paced life I live and realize the true meaning of Sukkot.”
Our Lambda brothers are grateful for Rabbi Zev’s passion for helping UT students discover, nurture and strengthen their Jewish identities.