Unique South Austin Sukkah Created with Locally Harvested Bamboo | Shalom Austin

Unique South Austin Sukkah Created with Locally Harvested Bamboo

Community News, Local Synagogues, The Jewish Outlook

Nov 23, 2021

The South Austin Sukkah, open for all. Credit: Chabad of South Austin.

The seven-day festival of Sukkot recently passed. It is celebrated by the Jewish community and is considered a “Thanksgiving” for the harvest. Jewish people around the world build a sukkah, which is a temporary outdoor hut where meals are enjoyed for the duration of the holiday.

Sukkot has a universal message: We sit outside together in friendship and fellowship, celebrating our diversity as human beings.Internationally, most sukkot are created of wooden panels or tarps.

South Austin Sukkah

Locally Harvested Bamboo, 90% made from locally harvested materials. Credit: Chabad of South Austin.

Rabbi Mendel Hertz of Chabad of South Austin fused the message of the holiday with the hut-building. “The goal was to unite the community in building a structure. And create something authentically Austin,” said Rabbi Hertz.

Matthew Kleinman, a friend of his, hit up on an idea.


An Austin native, Kleinman grew up with a bamboo forest in his backyard. He would spend time with his father, creating huts and hideouts for fun. And now, years later, Kleinman returned to that same spot to harvest bamboo for the South Austin Sukkah.

South Austin Sukkah Team

Part of the team L-R Matthew Kleinman, Steven Sloan, Matan Kaminski, Rabbi Mendel Hertz. Credit: Chabad of South Austin.

With local families coming together as a team, and many hours of work, the project was actualized.

Made of 90% locally harvested bamboo and palm-fronds, the South Austin Sukkah proved airy and beautiful, one of the most unique sukkahs to date. It brings those in it the chance to celebrate the sweetness of nature. The abundance of airflow means celebrating inside the hut is safe in these COVID times; bringing people together, and closer, to nature. The best part is the sukkah is reusable from year to year.

As Kleinman put it, “This Sukkah is as Austin as it gets.” ■

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