Ancient Jewish tradition comes to new Coney park

What’s poppin’?: (From left) 11-year-old Ida Sulaymanov and 12-year-old Yael Hanukaev enjoy popcorn under the giant sukkah built in Luna Park for Sukkot.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Religious Jews around the world celebrated the holiday of Sukkot last week — but only Brooklynites got to celebrate it in an amusement park.

Coney Island’s Luna Park set up a giant sukkah — a traditional wood and thatch hut — inside its gates from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5 for Jewish people to congregate, eat, and pray during the yearly festival.

The revelers got to feast on pizza and popcorn and enjoy rides while still reading the Siddur, the Jewish prayer book, with their families.

Sukkot celebrates both the autumn harvest and the ancient Israelites’ freedom from Egyptian slavery. The sukkah — from which the holiday takes its name — recalls the poor structures that the Hebrews lived in while journeying from the Nile River Valley to the biblical Promised Land. The prophet Moses commanded his followers to read the law of God during the week-long feast, and to gather branches of palms and myrtle, as well as myrtle flowers and the citrus fruit etrog as part of the celebration. Generations later, King Solomon used the occasion to dedicate the then-new Temple of Jerusalem.

Today, the first two days of Sukkot are reserved for prayer, while tradition bars believers from taking part in dull or mundane activities the following five, so that Jews can rejoice in the harvest and in freedom — even by going to Coney Island.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

Noshing: The Brachs, (from left) Sarah, Philip, and Elisheva, were just one family who came down to Luna Park in Coney Island for food and fun during the holiday of Sukkot from Oct. 3 to Oct. 5.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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