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Open to the Sky: The Beacon Sukkah Project

A sukkah is a house that gives no shelter, a house that parodies the idea of security.

It's a Jewish sand mandala of a building, open to the sky and used for seven days around the time of the fall harvest and then dismantled. It's rickety and tenuous, creating the illusion of permanence and highlighting the impermanence of everything.

Sukkot (pronounced sue-coat) is the name of both the ephemeral houses and the holiday during which they are used.

To read some of the press on Open to the Sky, click here.

Open to the Sky: Conversations

The sukkah is a “house” that calls attention to the fact that it gives us no shelter. It's the interrupted idea of a house, a parody of a house, the bare outline of a house, teaches Rabbi Alan Lew in This Is Real and You Are Completely Unprepared

It exposes the idea of a house as always incomplete. The idea of a house is that it gives us security, warmth, shelter from the storm. But no house can really offer us this. It is a painful thing to be without a home, but even when we have one, we know that no building of wood and stone can truly protect us from the disorder that lurks all around us. 

In the sukkah, a house that is open to the world, a house that freely acknowledges that it cannot be the basis of our security, we let go of the illusion of protection, and suddenly we can have the exilerhating and terrifying experience of being flush with our own lives.


Open to the Sky: The Beacon Sukkah Project will be at Polhill Park in Beacon, NY (by the Beacon Visitors' Center) from Sunday, October 13, 2019 through Monday, October 21, 2019.

For the week that Open to the Sky is up, there will be events, classes, workshops, children's programs, and more that are open to everyone, free of charge. Check out our full calendar of events; see what seems interesting, and come and visit.

All of the programs of Open to the Sky are offered without charge; however, there are (of course) costs associated with the construction and maintenance of this project and others like it. We hope you will support Open to the Sky with a donation of any size.


One of the main things we do in the sukkah is come together to learn, to teach and to explore. So, if you have something you want to teach the community, a workshop you want to run, or a conversation you want to host, we hope you’ll sign up to be a guide at Open to the Sky: The Beacon Sukkah Project. If you have any difficulties or challenges registering, please be in touch

More About Sukkot

According to the mystical tradition, we also welcome ushpizin, or ancestor guests, to celebrate with us. Some people invite the biblical patriarchs, some invite the biblical matriarchs, and some invite other guests altogether.

In addition to the huts, the holiday of Sukkot is also marked by waving of lulav and etrog, four species of plants in each of six directions - north, west, east, south, towards the heavens and towards the earth.

Finally, and perhaps most important, we study the book of Ecclesiastes, which teaches not that all is vanity, but that all is vapor, all is ephemeral and passing, like the sukkah which gives the holiday its name.


We are proud to again be organizing Open to the Sky: The Beacon Sukkah Project together with Beacon Arts.

Fri, September 20 2019 20 Elul 5779