Sep 21, 2010

My sheitel makes its National Television Debut!
I was secretly hoping that there would be a Sukkot-related craft segment yesterday in honor of my attendance at the live taping of The Martha Stewart Show. Alas, there wasn't. I did, however, get a sukkah full of Sukkot goodness yesterday at Sukkah City in Union Square in New York City. Have I blown your mind with information sans details yet? Let me elaborate.

The awesome Esti Berkowitz set me up with the opportunity to be in Martha's first Twitter section in which we'd get the opportunity to live tweet the show from our seats. I've live tweeted plenty of events before, most of them tech events, but this was a truly one-of-a-kind experience. I arrived at the studio yesterday around 8:30 a.m., stood in line for a while, was herded into a nice little waiting room, jazzed up in spirit and personality by the stage pro Joey, and then? We were taken in to the special Twitter section. The awesome part? There were only eight of us! We were in the front two rows (four in each row) of the audience, and in no time, the show was rolling. Between the second and third segment, Martha -- THE Martha Stewart -- actually spoke to us! Yes, she gave a shout-out to us, asked us if we were having fun, and thanked us for being there. Coming in and out of commercial breaks, there we were, Twittering away. The show featured eclectic fashion icon Iris Apfel and a variety of tips on consignment shopping (something I'm not a huge fan of largely because consignment clothes = really small). The show ended, they filmed a few promos and the intro to the episode set for Friday, and I was off.

I took a serious schlep (past an awesome  hat store that I wanted to raid, but, unfortunately, wholesale only -- hat business in my future?) and ended up at the subway, which I took down to South Union Square to meet up with my co-workers for a play day at Sukkah City. Unable to locate them once I was there, I decided to take a boatload of pictures and stand-by. Finally, I caught up with them, we schmoozed and discussed the exhibit, and then I was back to work. End scene of the coolest day.

I have a lot to say about Sukkah City, but I'll keep it short and give y'all some photos to ooo and aww over. Although the pamphlet at the main booth (which, by the way, didn't scream "information booth") had a little spiel on the back about what a sukkah is, but it neglected to say anything about it being Sukkot or that the holiday was a Jewish one. In fact, the word "Jewish" didn't exist at the Sukkah City display, and unless you went to the info booth, you probably left wondering what the heck a sukkah even was, outside of something to interpret in gnarly ways. I admire the organizers for putting together such an amazing contest that had such far-reaching entries, which also allowed for artists and architects the world over to really examine and explore what a sukkah is, as well as what a lot of the requirements (halakah) for a sukkah are. Word has it they even had an Orthodox rabbi on-staff to consult. The great thing about the exhibit was that the people exploring it were many and they were diverse -- student groups from a Solomon Schechter school, an adult group with rabbi in tow, and countless hipsters with fancy cameras snapping shot after shot with the perfect light. I was left wondering, however, if the exhibit made that all-too-common move of not being too Jewish. I think of Hillel here, which, on most campuses, tends to be scared to death of being too Jewish and scaring off its student body. Events tend to be "let's go bowling, oh, and you're Jewish, so, you know, that's cool, too." Social events for Jews, not Jewish events for socializing. New York City, after all, is full of Jews, and perhaps the assumption was that people would just know what the exhibit was about and for. In the end, I would have liked them to give a reference point -- hey, it's Sukkot starting Wednesday, hence the exhibit being now and here.

And now? Pictures!

Created with flickr slideshow from softsea.


Batya said...

I'm impressed!

JENNIFER said... totally blow Martha Stewart away...I've seen the pictures of your cooking...she's got nothing on you!

nanaloshen said...

I love Martha - I've read her magazine for years until I realized I didn't want to do anything she suggested! But I still things she's great. Thanks for the great post.

ilona@israel said...

is threre any special place in USA where you can build your Sukka? it is amazing-i live in israel and i have no yard and for me it is pretty problematic question(i rent yehidat diur, so i will just visit Sukkah of the owner of the house).

David Tzohar said...

I wonder who the halachic consultant was for Sukkah City. Of the winners only two looked to me as if they could be kosher sukkot. The downplay of the "Jewishness" of the event is really strange. I cant help but thinking that if the event took place in Safra square in Jerusalem rather than Union square in New York, there would be no need to explain what Sukkot is or emphasize the Jewishness of the Holiday.

Chaviva Gordon-Bennett said...

@Jen LOL ... thanks :) I don't know how Martha'd feela bout that, however.

@Ilona Good question! Because we live in an observant apartment community, people put up "communal" sukkot in the shared greenspaces, so we all were able to use those. I don't know what people who want to sleep in them do, however. I suppose I'll have to wait until we have our own!

@David They supposedly worked with an Orthodox rabbi on the halachot, but I don't think they were committed to them completely. They're hoping to build up the Sukkah City thing in other cities next year!

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