טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentMiriam Feldmann
SubjectUrban Space and Jewish Law - Covered,protective Publicness:
The Social and Spatial Manifestation on the Sukkah
in orthodox Neighborhoods
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors Dr. Aharon Meirav
Assistant Professor Verbakel Els
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Once a year, for a week in the fall, hundreds of thousands of people in Israel build a

sukkah as part of a set of commandments and customs a tradition-observant Jew

practices. The commandment of building a sukkah, in force in the middle of the

month of Tishrey (around September-October) is a total obligation from the Torah.

For observant Jews compliance to the Halakha is law, a ruling that is not given to

negotiation, hence its powers and scope. This popular and unique construction project

adds a very significant built mass in cities and changes their look beyond recognition. For one week every year there is a doubling of built mass in urban quarters. The open

spaces, between buildings, are filled with buildings and the city receives a new face.

Although the phenomenon of the sukkah is widespread and meaningful for people, for

the urban space and for urbanity in Israel in general, very little academic research was

carried out relating to the architectural aspect of this phenomenon. Even fewer are

research works in this field which examine the phenomenon through the integration of

ethnographic research and architectural research with the analysis of texts from the

Jewish Halakha. The phenomenon has not received attention from the architectural

and planning community, despite the dominance of the link between religion and

urban space in literature. This research examines the way in which faith, the duty of

observing commandments and customs in the religious society constitute a factor in

the shaping of urban space, and attempts to enquire what urbanity forms in the

ephemeral city built throughout the Succoth holiday.

Based on a methodology that integrates field research and architectural research, I

have examined in depth the phenomenon of building sukkahs, (in 2014-2016) in the

Third Wall (Hahoma Hashlishit) neighborhood in Jerusalem which is the residence of

the Shuvu Banim ("Sons, come back") community belonging to the Braslav Hassidic

community.

The argument of this research is that for groups which adopted a severe Orthodox

way of life including the observance of chastity, gender differentiation, abstinence

from hedonism and suspicion towards leisure - the Sukkot holiday, in the Halakhic,

social and architectural structure, is a sophisticated organization of common walking

out into the public space. In my opinion, the fact that the structure of the sukkah

enables a togetherness-separateness is what enables the coming out and being in the

collective space. Which means that the sukkahs generate a certain patchwork-like blanket or a social-communal joining which is made possible in the presence of the

singular architecture of the sukkah. The sukkah is an intimate functional space in

which all daily activities take place, and in contrast, the intimacy takes place within a

dense collective space. Sukkahs, as cells organized in mutual proximity within clear

boundaries made of thin materials, enable the being together-separate in the midst of

the neighborly collective space.