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The First Vice Presidential Sukkah

Summary: 
On September 24th, 2013, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden hosted their fall Jewish Community reception at the Vice President’s residence. To mark the occasion, which took place during the seven-day festival of Sukkot, the Vice President and Dr. Biden welcomed their guests with the first-ever Vice Presidential sukkah.

Last night, the Vice President and Dr. Jill Biden hosted their fall Jewish Community reception at the Vice President’s residence. To mark the occasion, which took place during the seven-day festival of Sukkot, the Vice President and Dr. Biden welcomed their guests with the first-ever Vice Presidential sukkah. 

Sukkot is an especially joyous holiday, because it falls right after the days of prayer and introspection that characterize the High Holidays, and it is known as the “season of our rejoicing.”  This annual fall harvest festival also commemorates the 40-year journey of the Jewish people from Egypt through the desert to the Land of Israel.

To recall the journey through the wilderness to the Land of Israel, Jews build and decorate a temporary hut at their homes or synagogues, and the Torah commands that they dwell in them for seven days. Jews most commonly observe this command by eating all of their meals in the sukkah. Additionally, in keeping with the joyous and inclusive nature of the holiday, Jews extend hospitality towards others by inviting guests to dine with them in the sukkah.

Before the reception, sukkah builders from American Friends of Lubavitch (Chabad) came to the Vice President’s official residence to build the sukkah….

Before the reception, sukkah builders from American Friends of Lubavitch came to the Vice President’s official residence to build the sukkah

(by Matt Nosanchuk)

After the sukkah was built, a group of Jewish children with disabilities from local area schools, joined by their parents, came to decorate the sukkah. . . 

After the sukkah was built, a group of Jewish children with disabilities from local area schools, joined by their parents, came to decorate the sukkah. . .

(by Matt Nosanchuk)

After the sukkah was up, Dr. Biden (and Champ) made a surprise visit to the sukkah….

After the sukkah was up, Dr. Biden (and Champ) made a surprise visit to the sukkah….

Dr. Jill Biden joins guests under the sukkah (by Matt Nosanchuk)

And the sukkah, which is a symbol of hospitality and inclusion, was ready for the guests.  Read more about the Vice Presidential sukkah here.

 Matt Nosanchuk is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engagement.