It may be the largest sukkah in the world, certainly the largest in Maryland, and tomorrow the Chabad Lubavitch in Rockville expects 1,500 children to come and fill it to celebrate the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.
A sukkah is by tradition a flimsy, temporary structure in which Jewish families commemorate the wilderness wanderings of the children of Israel during which they slept in tents or, in the literal translation of the word, sukkah, booths.
But the Chabad Lubavitch, a movement of Hasidic Jews that follows strict Orthodox ways, this year has constructed a giant sukkah at 311 W. Montgomery Ave. and invited all interested children to join the celebration beginning at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
In Jewish tradition, the Feast of Tabernacles is a harvest festival, harking back to the agricultural origins of the Jewish people. The sukkah itself is hung with branches and decorated with fruit. Tradition requires that four kinds of trees be represented: myrtle, citron, palm and willow.
Throughout the eight-day sukkot festival, which began last Thursday, many Jewish families gather for meals in their own back yard sukkah.
At the Chabad Lubavitch celebration tomorrow, the children will first join in traditional blessings, then participate in contests and games.
Traditionally the sukkah is open to the sky, with only a roof of tree branches to shelter celebrants from the weather. Lubavitch officials have promised that tomorrow's celebration will take place, rain or shine.