A Temporary World
Aaron Fein
A Temporary World
The typology for this sukkah was inspired at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, where I first encountered antique European sukkah ‘kits’ comprised of beautifully hand-painted decorative panels that could be erected annually.

The panels of this sukkah are various flags of U.N. member nations, rendered entirely in white. I started creating these flags shortly after 9/11, when I first noticed that American flag bumper stickers – our symbol of permanence and comfort after the attacks – were, ironically, fading to white over time.

The simple construction of this sukkah, with its ephemeral mingling of national identities – which appear and disappear with subtle changes in light and perspective – speaks to the most basic spiritual aspiration of Sukkoth: That we live for a week at the intersection between this world and the next; - a temporary world that reminds us that what exists today may be gone tomorrow.

Because of its conceptual origins, there is no more appropriate locale for this sukkah than New York, the world’s first truly international city, and the site of the 9/11 tragedy nine autumns ago. The message of healing and universality is as urgent in New York today as it was during September of 2001, when all Union Square Park was transformed into a temporary memorial.

Orienting the doorway of the building on axis with the park’s modest statue of Mahatma Gandhi subtly reminds visitors exiting the sukkah that a connection to both God and humankind is within reach – in this world – during Sukkoth and always.

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