We have a beautiful sukkah. It stands proudly on a naked piece of land adjacent to our Herzliya apartment complex’s parking lot. It is halachic, inviting and we’ve already had some joyous and tasty meals there (compliments to the chef: me).
We owe a good part of our sukkah to our neighbor Nino. Oh you don’t know Nino? I thought everyone in Israel knew Nino. He’s one of those unforgettable people. And a real mensch. What’s he got to do with Donald Trump in our sukkah? Well, if not for Nino we really would have had a very hard time building the sukkah, and an impossible time getting light into it.
Nino lives on the second floor of our apartment building. He’s the go-to guy when something in the building doesn’t work right. No, he’s not the rosh vaad. He’s just the guy with all the answers He knows how things work and where to get the materials to fix them. Every building should have a Nino.
Years ago, a few years after we had moved into our place here, my mother died. Nino, with whom we had never exchanged more than a shalom, showed up at the funeral in the Herzliya Cemetery. Why? Because he’s a mensch. He also made a shiva visit when my father died. Same reason. We’re not friends. He’s an Israeli from Libya and we’re Americans, mainly. We’re all Jewish but he’s lots younger than we are and I just can’t see us having long chats about anything. He wouldn’t be interested in our naive and unsophisticated opinions.
So back to the sukkah. We knew we were having family from America,
daughter, grandchildren, granddaughter-in-law. Wonderful house full! And we knew we needed a sukkah. We thought a shared sukkah would be a great idea so we put up a sign in the lobby of our building looking for sharers. I still remember Sukkot in 1973. War broke out on Yom Kippur and the very next day, miraculously, our Jerusalem neighborhood was sprinkled, and then drowning, in succot. They were all over and our building had a huge one that was for all of us to share. Yes, sharing was a lovely idea. Especially then when togetherness was comforting, in the midst of a war.
Of course, our neighborhood in Jerusalem was different from our neighborhood in Herzliya many decades later. We didn’t get any nibbles from our sign and were about to try and figure things out on our own when Nino knocked on our door. Yes! He wanted to share in building the sukkah. How lovely!
He and my husband went to Home Center in Nino’s truck, solving one big problem right there: transporting all the stuff in our midget car. My husband was amazed. Everyone knew Nino. All the shoppers. All the employees.
And of course he read the ads and got us the very best price possible. Not cheap but not crazy either. And so a few days before Yom Kippur the sukkah rose in our midst, all but the skach. And then, after YK the skach appeared, delivered by Nino.
Our new table and folding chairs were moved in. Lighting was installed on a timer connected to Nino’s low floor apartment. And then we spoke about actually having our meals in the sukkah. How would we work the shared space? Lo. Anachnu lo ochlim b sukkah, exclaimed Nino. Nino wanted to fulfill only the mitzvah of building the sukkah. He had no interest in eating in it.
So we have our own private sukkah and eating in it has been delightful except when Donald Trump arrives. Naturally he doesn’t arrive on his Trump Jet. He arrives only as the discussion swings around to him. It’s really nary impossible not to spend more than five minutes and not get to the US election. And from there, the conversation always swings downhill to Trump.
All of us are in agreement. There are no arguments or arguers that favor Trump. Not one of us can even understand how Trump got to where he is: a candidate for president of the United States. It’s really unimaginable. We can’t figure it out. This uncouth, uneducated boor of a man might possibly become president. Unfortunately Hillary was right. Those who support him really are deplorable. Else, how could they support someone as prust (Yiddish for low class) as Trump. So each meal in our sukkah finds us echoing each other’s thoughts and being unable to steer the conversation away from this nightmare. A possible Trump presidency. Israel having to rely on a man like Trump! Impossible.
We sit in our sukkah in Israel, feeling safe. We enjoy the truly beautiful weather. We eat to the music of singing birds and the laughter of children. We rejoice in the brilliant sunshine and after dark in the moonlight; and it’s a truly magical experience, this cozy and inviting temporary home we have erected, with Nino’s help. It would all be so perfect if we didn’t come to the Donald Trump part. He’s ruining everything.