Thousands of Jews from all backgrounds visited the “International Sukkah” opposite the United Nations in New York and the other Central Lubavitch Youth Organization’s sukkahs at Foley Square by the Court Houses, the Macy’s Sukkah, at Broadway and 32 Street and the downtown Sukkah near the Wall Street “Bull” landmark.
At these sukkos, respected lawyers could be seen catching a few moments for lunch before hurrying back to their prestigious offices. Nearby, for example, a prominent contractor sat next to a real estate broker, completing their conversation as they grabbed a bite in the sukkah. Alongside were Chassidim who had to be in the city during the holiday to take care of affairs that would otherwise lead to a loss, and tourists visiting New York who sought a sukkah where they could eat their meal.
Jewish diplomats from other lands visited the sukkah to fulfill the commandment of lulav and esrog, and to witness the “miracle of Sukkos” together with Jews of all backgrounds.
In speaking about the “International Sukkah” across from the United Nations, Rabbi Shmuel Butman, Director of Lubavitch Youth Organization, recalled what the Rebbe said to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, then Israel Ambassador to the UN, “Remember, that in a hall of perfect darkness, if you light one small candle, its precious light will be seen from afar, by everyone. Your mission is to light a candle for truth and for the Jewish people.”
“Putting up a Sukkah across from the United Nations Headquarters” said Rabbi Butman, “is in that spirit of the Rebbe of lighting a candle of truth.”
Talking to visitors Rabbi Butman, stressed the strategic significance of this unique location: “We are here right opposite the building where some have denied the Holocaust and demand destruction, G-d forbid, of the Jewish people and now denying the connection of the Jewish People to Yerusholayim.”
Quoting from Koheles (Ecclesiastes) “G-d has made one opposite the other,” Rabbi Butman continued “the lesson is clear and unambiguous, that the sukka of peace will nullify all slanderous words and bring peace, true peace, to all humankind.”
HELP TO JEWISH FAMILIES
Many families taking their young children on Chol Hamo’ed trips brought them to visit the sukkah. “Now I don’t need to worry about where to give my children food,” said one happy mother. “Chabad has already taken care of it for us.”
Pairs of Chabad yeshiva students covered many city neighborhoods, working with typical Chassidic enthusiasm to bring the mitzvah of lulav and esrog to many thousands of Jews.
“This is an integral part of the Rebbe’s activities expressing his concern for every Jew, wherever he is,” noted Rabbi Yossi Butman, who organized the Sukkos activities for the Lubavitch Youth Organization, together with a team of Chabad yeshiva students who worked energetically to ensure the activities’ success.