Editors’ Note: According to the Torah, a Sukkah needs to be made of 2.5 walls, a Hole-y roof (tehehe) so you can see the sky, and a place to sit. But that would make for a very plain Sukkah. Baruch Hashem that we have a Sukkah-Building expert(?) here today to help us with our Sukkot woes. Far West’s Austin Kaufman shares with us his top 10 tips on how to build a better Sukkah.
Hey USY! My name is Austin “Danger” Kaufman, I like churros and long walks on the beach, and I have a confession to make: I have never built a sukkah. Now that that is off my chest, I am going to give you guys some tips for building a dope sukkah.
1. Be prepared
Build your sukkah in advance, no one likes a last-minute sukkah.
2. Make your favorite foods and bring them into the sukkah
Sukkot is a really fun time and just like any other Jewish Holiday, it is even more fun with good food.
3. Makeover your sukkah
My favorite way to do this in all of my “extensive” sukkah building is to get a 400-foot long extension cord (like the ones at IC SoCal, be there or b²) and connect it from your neighbors’ house to the old TV in your garage from back in the day. (DISCLAIMER: don’t watch TV during Yom Tov!) (Editors’ note: This is for Hol Ha’Moed!)
4. Set the mood
Now that you’ve got dinner and a show, you need some ambiance. My favorite way to do this is with some smooth jazz or the “This is Frank Sinatra” playlist from Spotify, but if you don’t want that, an alternative is getting a full nine-person orchestra to play all the classical music favorites from Mozart to Maroon 5.
5. Freshen up your decorations
No one likes plain walls and besides the TV you already have, you will need some other decorations to spice up your three walls. Most people use decorations from Hebrew school, but that is so cliche—my favorite thing to do is use original classic paintings that are stolen from museums (don’t worry—you already repented for it on Yom Kippur). I personally like any Picasso or Monet’s Water Lilies, but if you are feeling lazy, the Mona Lisa will do just fine. If fine art is too shabby for you, your neighbor (the same one whose power you are using for your TV) likely is good at finger painting (I’ll give you the @dailydose_comedy guarantee) and you can always use some of those.
6. Sign up for International Convention
While you are hard at work building your sukkah, make sure to check your region’s regpacks if you haven’t already and sign up for IC SoCal (DISCLAIMER: don’t sign up on yom tov!) because it will be a lit party (I’ll give the @dailydose_comedy guarantee)!
7. Add some pizzazz to your roof
So we got the setup of the inside of your sukkah covered, but now we gotta get the inside of your sukkah, covered, so we need a roof (see what I did there). Normally, people use palm fronds (Pronounced FRONS), but I prefer using a different kind of frond to cover my sukkah—signed pictures of Zac Efron. He said he is Jewish and I have a fan theory that he was actually a USYer in New Frontier, but now he lives in Paris, FRONce.
8. Prank your guests
Now that I got those puns out of my system, we can talk about what you should do inside your sukkah. If you really want to get a rouse out of your guests, switch the etrog with a large lemon and keep the lulav the same. It is hilarious to see how long it takes them to notice—my personal record is three years. If you really want to surprise them, use an orange, lime, or grapefruit. I thought it would slide with my family and friends because it is all citrus, but it doesn’t work as well from my personal experience. If the classic etrog prank does not work, you can always loosen the lid on the salt shaker or pull the chair out from someone (don’t worry you already repented for it in advance on Yom Kippur).
9. Have a swaggy sleeping space
You’ve had a fantastic night eating your favorite foods, milking your neighbor’s electricity to stream Netflix, and you have finished signing up for IC SoCal (*wink wink nudge nudge*… but actually IC is the best five days of the year and you can meet the most amazing people), but now you need a place to sleep. My favorite thing to do is to get three huge bean bag chairs to sink into for the night. Now I know what you must be wondering, “where am I going to keep all of this stuff?” Don’t be silly, your sukkah is 4,250 square feet so you have plenty of room for you and your neighbor’s finger paintings of wild zebras plastered all over the walls.
10. Put a cherry on top of your fantastic ice cream sundae of a Sukkot
You have already wowed your friends and family with a whole evening of fun and laughter (I’ll give you the @dailydose_comedy guarantee), but it is time for your grand finale. I would personally recommend homemade fireworks (the more color the better) (Editors’ note: Achshav is not liable for anyone injured by aforementioned homemade fireworks ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) and it is convenient because the classical nine-person orchestra that is still hanging out in the corner does a great rendition of Katy Perry’s “Firework” that would really tie the night together. Once they finish, you should take a bow and look back on the phenomenal gathering you threw and give yourself a pat on the back and a high five.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and I just wanted to remind you that I have never built a sukkah before so I would take all of these with a grain of salt (from none other than the salt shaker in Step 8). I can’t wait to see you all in December. Chag Sukkot Sameach!
Austin “*Anna From Frozen Voice* Do You Wanna Build a Sukkahhhhhh” Kaufman
Austin “Danger” Kaufman is a senior from Far West USY. He is a proud member of Congregation B’nai Israel in Tustin, California. He is currently serving as USYer Connection Co-chair on Membership/Kadima International General Board and is regional Membership/Kadima Vice President.