Down at Zuccotti Park (aka Liberty Plaza) we had the choice of the sukkah we go to and the sukkah we don’t go to. It was the day after the Occupy Wall Street protesters refused to move out of the park for a sanitation department cleanup. The occupiers cleaned up the park and the establishment backed down, at least for the moment. What better place to celebrate Shabbat-Sukkot.
Before the cleanup showdown, Daniel J. Sieradski, the “post-Orthodox” organizer behind the Kol Nidre service next to the park, had assembled a Chabbad popup sukkah in Zuccotti Park. The halachic hovel was unfit for man or beast – especially in high winds and rain. Friday evening Sieradski was vacating, while a few yards away, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice (JFREJ) were getting ready to celebrate Shabbat and Sukkot under a sturdy non-halachic shelter. “Shake, shake, sniffy, sniffy” Participants were instructed to shake the lulav and sniff the etrog.
Then the cops moved in. No tents allowed. What is this, anti-Semitism? (Just joking – haha.) What about that tent over there? Policewoman explains that the huge tarp attached to a few trees is “not a tent. It’s an umbrella.” The guidelines are obviously in flux. The head of JFREJ, Marjorie Dove Kent, takes a hands up/hands down vote (fingers wiggling OWS vote style) on whether we want to risk arrest.
We barely have our Judaism or our politics together but the majority definitely does not want to risk arrest on this issue at this time.