So, I never knew about sukkos growing up. When I first started seriously dating my now husband, Zack, he invited me over to meet his parents. I was really nervous, so he told me not to worry it’s going to be a barbecue with lots of people so they won’t grill me too much. So, I pull up around 12pm on the designated Friday, which I thought was a little weird because shouldn’t everyone be at work? And, I passed a bunch of guys wearing yalmukees, so I knew I was in the right place. They looked at me as if they have never seen a car before. Zack runs out of the yalmukee gang towards my car and points to where his house. So, I reply just hop in I will give you a ride over and pack your friends in. Zack, turned red and said he can’t. I was like it’s not Saturday so there is no reason not to. He responded, “I know but I can’t”. I looked at him as if he was nuts and I just drove to the pointed area. I popped out of the car in my bbq attire a mini skirt, and tank top. As I walked in the house I felt very embarrassed for being under dressed because everyone was dressed up because they came straight from shul.
I came into a hut of, what felt like, one million people which Zack failed to mentioned that 7 of them were his relatives. This was the first time that I ever walked into this weird hutlike thing called a succuh. I was bombarded by pretty much everyone Zack knew from his brothers, parents, grandparents, and family friends. In an event like this I turned to Zack and I said I am going to need a beer. He turned to me and said why would we have beer? I responded “ Because it is a bbq”. So, Zack just rolled his eyes. Growing up a politicians daughter I was used to working a crowed by giving hugs, kisses, and shaking hands, but apparently men in beards are not so into that. So, Zack held my arms back so I couldn’t touch anyone and introduced me to the entire Livingston community who nodded and and said “chog sameach” to me and I said “merry succos”. I chose merry succos because succos sounds like Christmas. But, apparently that’s not the right lingo becuase Zack pinched my arm and said “ just say thank you. You too .” As the day went on I started talking to his parents and his grandparents and friends and had so much fun laughing at Jewish jokes and eating until I couldn’t breathe! I didn’t even notice the fact I couldn’t have an ice cream after my hamburger.
This was the third year I kept succos. Since, we live in an apt and there was no place that we could put a succah, so we went to Zack’s parents house. This year was great because it was on a weekend so I didn’t have to skip class or work. The only problem was Friday it was raining, buggy and cold. And, “JAP”y me refused to sit out there wet and freeze because A. I learned in a shuir (I go for free food ok.) that technically only men have to sit in the hut; anyways, B. I forgot a jacket. But, of course I lose every argument with Zack. So, I wore a t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweatshirts, a hat, leggings, sweatpants ankle warmers and sneakers in order to sit outside. Zack’s mom laughed at me and said, “Brooke are you are so religious now covering your hair.” I laughed because I can never imagine being that religious but who knows because I didn’t think I would be married and keeping kosher at 22.
On shabbas we walked in the rain to Zack’s parents friends house. So, you can imagine how happy I was. In situations like these there should be an exception to drive or at least call to cancel. But, anyways when we go there they wanted to eat on the wet chairs outside. Which, luckily Zack’s mothers friends refused so I didn’t have to look like the bad guy. So, this poor family had to squeeze 20 people in their tiny living room. For those who were sitting away from the entrance, could not get up the entire meal unless they crawled under the table or made everyone on the other side get up. Luckily, I was sitting near the entrance and had a bottle of wine with my name on it. So, that made the afternoon go by fast After lunch I went home and passed out and woke up after dark excited that sukkos if finally over. But, it was a two day yom tov so my plan back fired. When I woke up, his mother asked if I was ready to eat again. The jewish curse as I call it. You just eat and eat and eat on holidays. And, then other random days you starve and starve. Anyways, that Saturday night, his family decided to eat outside in the cold, damp succcah. I decided to let them all sit out there but I was staying inside. So, I finally won against Zack and made only him eat inside with me while his family froze outside. As evil as that sounds, I go crazy on normal shabbas’s. I have had enough with family time, eating, lack of cell phone and electricity in general. I was just “Jew”ed out by Saturday night. So, Zack realized how much I do for him and stayed inside nice, warm and dry with me. That was probably my first and last championship against him.
The second day of Yom Tov, Zack’s family was able to get a minyan at their house instead of walking their usual mile and a half. Which, was fine by me because that meant I could sleep late and didn’t have to go to shul.
After their minyan his parents had their annual barbecue. So, on one grill they were cooking hot dogs, chicken and hamburgers and on the other grill they decided to cook a lamb. I personally don’t like lamb so I stayed as far away from the grill as possible. But, all I know is that as I was enjoying my hamburgers everyone was waiting and waiting for the lamb. I guess it takes a few hours to cook on a disposable grill. Because, it was a barbecue everyone hung around all day long in and out of the succcah chatting. I was going crazy at this point with out a cell phone, gym, ipod, tv being cooped up in the house. So, I forced Zack to go on a walk with me. But, because where he lives in NJ it is so hilly it ended up being more of a hike. So, after all that walking we went back to his parents house and Zack played trivial pursuit with his family which was really fun! I had never really played board games before because there was never any reason to all be together in order to play. So, this was a really fun new experience. And, we ended up playing until the end of yom tov. FINALLY!!! The second after havdallah was over we were packing up and running out the door and back to the hustle and bustle of reality,
1. You do not say merry succos
2. If you invite a lot of people over for succos because you have a lot of room outside make sure you can fit them inside as well
3. Lamb takes forever to cook on a disposable gril.
4. Board games make the time go by faster