Boro Park – Just off the heart of Boro Park’s modern shopping center on Thirteenth Avenue, past the electronic shops and boutique cafes, stands a sukkah that would have fit in perfectly in 16th century Amsterdam or ancient Warsaw.
A windmill rolls lazily outside the doors made of oak panels and red brick. The exterior appears to be made of mud pressed together, with hints of early-age Native American adobe huts. A red lantern hangs from a window, its flickering lights casting a soft shadow over the yard. In this sukkah, time is standing still.
The sukkah is the handiwork of Sruly Weisberg, the proprietor of Artistic Gallery, a store that creates the props for major plays such as Interen. In an exclusive interview with BoroPark24.com, he shared details about the beautiful sukkah he builds for his family each year that attracts admirers who come to see the creative ideas and implementation on display.
“My grandfather in Eretz Yisroel was known for making the most beautiful sukkah every year — they called it the ‘sukkas ha’pele’, and it was the most beautiful sukkah in Eretz Yisroel. So Sukkos is a big thing for us. We spend the entire year thinking of what we could do for the next year,” Weisberg said.
“This year during the summer,” he said, “we decided that we’re going to make a vintage themed sukkah. It wouldn’t have been possible without my children, who helped me a lot.”
The theme holds true in so many ways inside the sukkah. The dishes and utensils are of a decidedly modern look, but aside for that a visitor would think he was in some sort of museum. Another nod to the 21st century is the alarm clock in a corner, hanging on a wall near an early make telephone and camera that requires film. The sink and fireplace look like they herald to a different era, and oil lamps are the only light sources.
Each year the Weisberg family chips in to create a themed sukkah, one that will be the talk of the town. Last year, for example, the theme was water.
“I painted all the walls beautifully, with grass, trees, a field, a beautiful garden,” Weisberg said. “Every painting had water pouring down in different ways, such as from teapots and other things.”
“Now I have another entire year to think about what to make for next year Sukkos. And working on the props for plays during the year is actually a good time for me to think of ideas for the sukkah.”
Photos by: Avrumi Blum