Sukkah Village, an event spearheaded by architect Joshua Zinder and his firm JZA+D — aimed at raising awareness of homelessness, hunger, and refugeeism, and the power of design to make a difference — has culminated in funds raised being presented to nonprofit participants.
The ten-day event took place last September concurrently with the Jewish festival holiday Sukkot, treating residents and visitors to Princeton, N.J. to public displays of unique sukkahs, the hut-like shelters that figure prominently in the observance of the holiday. Designed by top area architects and student design teams, the one-of-a-kind sukkahs were sold through online auction as part of Sukkah Village 2021-related fundraising efforts, to benefit 19 nonprofit organizations that participated in and supported the event.
Sukkah Village organizers Joshua Zinder (left) and Mark Merkovitz (right) present a check to Shirley Satterfield and Julian Edgren of the Witherspoon Jackson Historical & Cultural Society Photo courtesy JZA+D
Recently the more than $20,000 raised was presented by Mr. Zinder along with Mark Merkovitz, president of Jewish Federation of Princeton Mercer Bucks, to leaders of recipient groups Arts Council of Princeton, Witherspoon-Jackson Historic & Cultural Society, Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, TJC Interfaith Refugee Resettlement Committee, and many others.
According to Zinder, the goal of Sukkah Village was to present Sukkot as an opportunity for communities to come together in celebration, and to learn about and address issues that relate thematically to the Jewish festival holiday commemorating the plight of the Israelites as they sought shelter in the wilderness.
“Thanks to the dedication and inspiration of our event partners and sponsors, and to the talent and labor of some of New Jersey’s best architects, we were able to connect our spiritual, communal, and charitable efforts to promote the power of design and creativity in addressing some of the critical issues facing New Jersey, and the world more broadly,” says Zinder.
Sukkah Village 2021, “Sukkah Hop” Photo courtesy JZA+D
Sukkah Village took place Sept. 19-29 2021 in several outdoor public locations around Downtown Princeton. In addition to the public displays of sukkahs and the fundraising auction, the multi-day event happenings included walking tours, a film screening, panel discussions, a family-oriented crafts event, and a “Sukkah Hop” in which visitors had the chance to hear directly from design teams and the nonprofit community organizations.