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Celebrating The In/Between – NuRoots’ Citywide Sukkot Festival

A celestial soundscape, a dance for rain, the scent of s’mores. These were a few of the diverse possibilities of The In/Between, NuRoots’ first ever annual citywide Sukkot festival.

NuRoots, The Jewish Federation’s unique young adult engagement initiative, mobilizes and inspires people in their 20s and 30s to create meaningful Jewish community across Los Angeles. Over two nights, more than 250 young adults gathered for five distinct experiences re-imagining the distinctive rituals and joyful energy of Sukkot. Our festival name (and theme), The In/Between, was created to signify the layers of the holiday’s depth: how we see shadows that exist between the real and imagined; to soak up the space of the sukkah and view the stars through the gaps in its roof; and to experience a fragile state between permanence and total impermanence. Envisioned, designed, and curated by NuRoots, partner organizations, and community members, this festival was an opportunity to reshape the ancient traditions of the holiday for a new and diverse audience, many of whom were encountering Sukkot and its rituals for the first time.

The festival provided something for everyone across the vast geography of Los Angeles.

Here are some highlights from the two days under the Sukkah:

The Celebration: Acoustic Shelter

Beautiful voices, guitar, piano, violin, and ethereal electronic music filled the space of a Sherman Oaks backyard and sukkah. Intoxicating performances from our community included Eitan Snyder & Ben Greenberg, Tova Katz & Marnina Schon, and Lee Triffon & Roy Regev, who all brought the theme of The In/Between to life.

The Celebration: Slumber Party

NuRoots, The Miller Intro to Judaism at AJU, and Honeymoon Israel, collaborated to create space for over 15 couples who gathered for a magical evening of stars, bonfires, sparkly tents, and conversation, inspired by the campouts and slumber parties of their youth. In a beautiful candle-lit backyard in West Adams, couples played board games, ate incredible Mexican food, and encountered the Sukkot ritual of ushpizin, the tradition of welcoming guests into the Sukkah.

The Celebration: Six Directions

A festival-style night of live performances, funky gallery strolling, visual projections, tacos, and drinks, this immersive art experience brought together over 90 young adults from the NuRoots and East Side Jews (of the SIJCC) communities to come together to shake their lulav in style.  The sukkah and courtyard of the Silverlake Independent Jewish Community Center came alive to the joyous sound of poetry, music, dance, and comedy performed by local Jewish artists.

The Celebration: Feed Your Soul

This soulful and musical experience brought over 40 NuRoots, Na’or at Mishkon, and Moishe House community members together to explore the deep symbolic connection between the body and Sukkot. Inside the sukkah at Mishkon Tephilo in Venice Beach, the mind, body, and soul were nourished through meditation led by Rabbi Aviva Funke and delicious food prepared by local chef Oren Giladi.

The Celebration: Out of the Closet, Into the Sukkah

Over 50 young adults gathered on a picturesque rooftop in mid-city for an enchanted evening in the sukkah, featuring crafting by JQ, learning with TRIBE (IKARs 20s/30s), a beautiful meditation in the form of a star-bath facilitated by La Mer, and a delectable meal. While gusts of wind moved through the space, guests found warmth in joyous celebration and meaningful connection.