Arts and Culture | Local

At Tucson Meet Yourself, celebrate in the Sukkah

Scene from the 2010 Tucon Meet Yourself Festival (Steven Meckler)

Tucson’s Jewish community will have a significant presence at the Tucson Meet Yourself Festival this weekend.

In celebration of the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which started Thursday, the Jewish History Museum will house its festival booth in a sukkah (which is apropos, as the word “sukkah” means “booth”) on the corner of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street, in the Jacome Library plaza.

“It’s outreach for the community to learn about what’s available Jewishly,” says Eileen Warshaw, executive director of the museum, who explains that the booth will offer information about a variety of local Jewish agencies and synagogues.

The festival, now in its 38th year, highlights the traditions of many local folk and ethnic communities. Traditions of health and wellness, ancient and contemporary, will be a focus this year, with food vendors offering “Smart Choices” menu items and thousands of people participating in a “Tucson Move Your Body” flash workout (funded in part by “Pima County Communities Putting Prevention to Work” — see at 2 p.m. Saturday, followed by a parade through the festival grounds.

All the booths will have interactive projects. At the Jewish History Museum’s sukkah, children and adults can help make “the longest blue and white paper chain” to decorate the sukkah — or take their paper chain creation home, if they prefer, says Warshaw.

Young Jewish Tucson will hold a potluck dinner in the sukkah on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m.

The Weintraub Israel Center will hold a Sukkot open house in the sukkah on Sunday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., featuring children’s activities and Israeli dance instruction. Volunteers will talk to festival-goers about where to go and what to see in Israel and answer questions about Israeli politics, culture and industry. Cantor Janece Cohen will stop by to strum her guitar and sing, adds Guy Gelbart, director of the Weintraub Israel Center and Tucson’s community shaliach (emissary from Israel).

The festival, says Gelbart, is an opportunity “to bring Israel to the wide Tucson community, to allow more people in Tucson to get a little more familiar with Israel and to see the positive sides of Israel” that are not always emphasized in the media.

A Sukkot water blessing, led by Deborah Mayaan, will be held at the Main Library on Sunday at 2 p.m. The Tucson Jewish Youth Choir, led by Cantor Janece Cohen, will perform on the MOVING stage in Jacome Plaza on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

For more information, visit