The sukkah is a temporary dwelling, traditionally erected each fall in observance of the Jewish harvest holiday of Sukkot. Jewish texts and tradition offer a rich and complex set of parameters for sukkah design and construction. Explicitly fragile, permeable, and temporary, these shelters pose ancient questions of protection and enclosure, and of transience, displacement and domestic space that remain highly relevant issues in 21st century art, craft and design.

 

Since 2012, Oregon Jewish Museum has celebrated Sukkot with an anual design-build competition, inviting designers, artists and makers of all backgrounds to propose contemporary responses to the traditional challenges of sukkah design.

 

Awardees of this juried competition receive a small stipend to create and install a sukkah on the grounds of the Oregon Jewish Museum (OJM), in Portland, Oregon. A collection of up to several unique, liveable structures  remain on view at OJM throughout Sukkot, where they serve as the focal point of a weeklong series of events that create contemporary context and connection to the themes of this ancient holiday.

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© 2013 by COREN M. RAU