Part of the ECDP Creative Diversity Hubs Project.

The Sukkah is a symbolic shelter reminiscent of the temporary dwellings in which according the Torah, the Israelites lived during their 40 years exile in the desert following their exodus from Egypt. Sukkah also refers to the temporary dwellings used by agricultural workers during harvest.

Sukkot (Feast of Booths, Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical Jewish holiday that is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei on which theIsraelites would make a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem. Throughout the holiday meals are eaten inside the Sukkah and many people sleep in there as well.

Sukkot is a joyous occasion, a coming together and a sharing. It is a pilgrimage, a journey. It is about building stronger relationships with family and friends. The purpose of HARVEST is to invite people to share in this traditional celebration of community and friendship, to promote a greater understanding of what it means to be Jewish in 2015, and finally, to go on a journey together.

I interviewed members of the Jewish community in Essex and London talking about their personal experiences and beliefs. These conversations and insights form the basis of HARVEST. I then invited people both from the Jewish and non-Jewish communities to collaborate on a MOSES tapestry to decorate the Sukkah. The idea being that while each square represents an individual endeavour, united the squares represent a community working together towards one common goal: togetherness. The tapestry is ongoing.

At the beginning of this project I knew very little about the Jewish community and its traditions. Over the last six months I have been on a fascinating voyage of discovery. I have been welcomed into synagogues, homes, and most significantly, other people’s lives. HARVEST seeks to celebrate and share that ‘gathering’.

The Sukkah will be on display at the Village Green Festival in Southend on 10th & 11th July 2015 at Chalkwell Park as part of the Creative Diversity Hubs Project.