Walt Secord visits the Succah by the Sea

November 3, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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NSW Shadow Treasurer Walt Secord has congratulated Shalom, the Sydney Jewish cultural organisation for its “marvellous” decision to sponsor the Succah by the Sea project –as part of the annual Sculpture by the Sea at Tamarama in Sydney’s east.

Eric Roozendaal, Walt Secord and Rabbi Alon Meltzer

“It is a marvellous showcase and a wonderful idea; I congratulate Shalom,” Mr Secord said.

Inspired by Reboot’s New York project Sukkah City, Shalom through its local artistic directors – Office Feuerman, a Sydney-based design and research studio – provided a brief to artists to re-examine the succah, a 3,000-year-old structure through a 21st-century lens and beyond the traditional canvas tents, blue tarpaulins and wooden boxes.

Six different-styles of succah were constructed and installed at Marks Park at Bondi. They included an Inside-Out Succah; a dune; a temporary, portable one; a massive sandstone one and a computer-generated one using an algorithm to create interlocking wood components in a shape similar to the Star of David. All of them met the “kosher” requirements of a succah – and were also in keeping with the spirit of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. Together, the six form a “succah village”.

Visitor inspects a Succah

Earlier this week, Mr Secord, who is also shadow arts minister and deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel visited the showcase as part of a program for NSW Parliamentarians to see the exhibition with official guides.

NSW Young Labor for Multiculturalism is expected to visit later in the week.

Mr Secord was hosted by Shalom program director Rabbi Alon Meltzer, NSW Jewish Board of Deputies’ Public Affairs Committee chair and former NSW Treasurer and former Roads Minister, Eric Roozendaal and NSW Jewish Board of Deputies Public Affairs officer Romi Rutovitz.

“It is simply inspired and it was another way to showcase Jewish culture, but it was also an opportunity to explain Judaism to non-Jews in an unusual setting,” Mr Secord said.

“In fact, during my short visit, I heard a guide explaining the significance of Succot to many visitors including children and someone replied, `oh, that is what the booths in the backyards are about’.”

“I will be encouraging my colleagues to visit.”

“On a personal note, the visit brought back vivid childhood memories. My late father, who was a Mohawk-Ojibway First Nation used to help his Holocaust survivor business partner and friend every year construct their family succah. It was quite complex, but the hardest part was sourcing the palm fronds in southern Canada,” Mr Secord said.

The Succah by the Sea installations will be on display until November 10.

The Sculpture by the Sea exhibition is Australia’s largest annual outdoor sculpture exhibition. This exhibition was initiated in 1997, at Bondi Beach and it featured sculptures by both Australian and overseas artists. More than 100 NSW, interstate and international artists participate and up to 500,000 people attend each year.

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