New Rochelle artist Fred Spinowitz often collaborates with his grandchildren. A few weeks ago, Spinowitz, whose Jewish-themed art includes paintings as well as original ketubot, teamed up with his granddaughter, Miya Gorodischer of White Plains, a student at FIT, to create a unique, attractive sukkah for inclusion in Sukkahwood 2019—an outdoor competition and exhibition of temporary dwellings. The Sukkahwood event will be held on Sunday, October 6, at noon in Northern Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park, located at 218th Street and Indian Road, Inwood. The public is invited free of charge.
After a smashing second year, Sukkahwood, sponsored by Omanut, Jewish Uptown Arts, was pleased to once again invite artists and designers to re-imagine a sukkah and be part of the Sukkahwood outdoor show. The committee extended an invitation for artists to join in the mission of connecting the arts with tradition and foster community across all lines.
The organizers of Sukkahwood proclaimed, “Sukkahwood’s values of inclusion are universal and seek to bring together people from all walks of life. Sukkahwood is about re-thinking an essential Jewish tradition through unique and out-of-the-box thinking, using materials with a focus on sustainability and affordability, and connecting to our beautiful New York City parks.”
Sukkahwood’s rules require that each artist submit one design for his or her sukkah. Each sukkah needs to be designed to be built and taken down on the same day of the event. Artists, working alone or in groups, work with consultants to ensure that their submissions retain the nature of a sukkah. Artists were asked to consider questions such as “What is a home?” and “How can a home be temporal, ephemeral and connected to nature?” Artists explore what a contemporary sukkah could be, while maintaining a diverse and rooted meaning of time and space.
Spinowitz shared, “Our brainstorming resulted in many ideas. We then reviewed our priorities and liked the idea of “deconstructing” a pool umbrella. Additionally, we were inspired by the six panels and the use of the warm and cool colors of the spectrum. For many years we have heard friends and family concerns about traveling on Chol Hamoed, but also needing a sukkah. We have built the solution.”
The Spinowitz/Gorodischer entry, “Sun Sukkah,” is both temporary and portable. The artists’ concept evolved from the understanding that the clouds protected B’nei Yisroel in the desert, post Exodus. The burning sun is, in a contemporary setting, blocked for people’s comfort and protection by the sun umbrella. Part of the guidelines for the sukkah is to have more shade than sun. This is achieved by the reed covering installed on the roof of the sukkah.
Spinowitz continued, “The experience of authentic Judaism replicates the original experience. When we pray, eat and sing, we are, in fact, connecting ourselves to our ancient history. The experience is real and in the moment. We invoke the “Ushpizin” to join us in the sukkah and what better way to do that than to use the current umbrella as our demarcation of place for this event?”
The original shelter from the elements is still very much in effect with the updated sun umbrella. “Within minutes,” Spinowitz added, “we can lift our sukkah and move it to any necessary location.” Their sukkah entry is, in fact, built to “kosher” specifications.
Spinowitz told The Jewish Link how it felt working with his granddaughter: “Great! I am fortunate to have may artistically gifted grandchildren.”
Miya shared that “working with Papa is so much fun! We get to combine our ideas and blend our different areas of interest, which is so nice! It’s also nice to get to spend extra time with him.”
Cash prizes up to $1500 will be awarded at the event for first, second and third place.
One can observe the building of the Spinowitz/Gorodischer sukkah by following this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/VBabXTkKa6ZE3Z1e7.
By Yvette Finkelstein