By Larry Gordon

We told Steven Litton that we didn’t want our sukkah built in our driveway after it is dark outside. And we certainly preferred that it not be put up after midnight, as was the case several times in the past.

I was on the phone with Steven about an hour after Rosh Hashanah ended. “I’d really like to come by and put the sukkah up tonight,” he said. I hesitated for a moment but then took a stand and told him that it would be better for us if he and his crew erected the sukkah after the sun came up.

At 6:30 the next morning, Steven and his brother Jonathan were at our kitchen table waiting for it to get light outside so that the crew could begin to assemble our sukkah.

“You don’t understand what we set out to do and what we accomplished here,” Steve said. I thought to myself that this was not really the case, but it also occurred to me that unless I agreed with him he was going to insist that I really do not get it.

“OK.” I ask, “So what is it that I really do not understand?”

Their primary point is that this is a sukkah with the kind of durability that means you only have to buy it once and it will serve you year after year for life. And that is the important message of the Litton Sukkah magic that the men emphasize. That is, you buy one sukkah and it serves you for a lifetime.

But the Litton Sukkah is more than that, too. Over the last several years, it seems that a number of additional purposes for these exclusive designs have been discovered.

As mentioned here a few weeks ago, the Littons had their products pressed into service during the height of the pandemic when they were asked to construct outdoor dining facilities to save restaurants from closing when dining was not allowed indoors.

In addition, Steven added, the lightweight construction of the Sunbrella walls has multiple indoor uses in shuls and other facilities as mechitzah walls or room dividers, depending on specific needs.

The Littons are particularly proud of the large commercial-type sukkahs they have been asked to design and construct for shuls at multiple locations in this area as well as around the country.

These large sukkahs that can host over 100 people at any one time can be seen at the KAY shul and Aish Kodesh in the Five Towns, at the White Shul in Far Rockaway, as well as in Oceanside, Englewood, Philadelphia, and in Aspen and Boulder, Colorado.

Steven and Jonathan were born and raised here in the Five Towns. Steven is 39 and single; Jonathan is 37 and got married two years ago. Steven says when he’s not busy managing his business and his sukkah-building crews he spends some time looking for a shidduch. Both young men attended HALB before they moved out to Colorado years ago.

Steven Litton says that they created the idea a few years ago of renting a sukkah instead of buying one. Actually it is kind of like leasing or renting a car because you can have a different-looking sukkah each time the chag rolls around.

Here at our home we had a caramel-colored tan sukkah for a couple of years, but then we saw the handsome gray sukkah and that’s the one we’ve had in our driveway for the last three years.

Last week our daughter Malkie had a really nice sky-blue sukkah put up in front of her home and it actually enlivens the entire block in Woodmere. There is also a military-green color that looks beautiful, too.

Now that we have expended so many words on the Litton Sukkah and their numerous innovations, I think it’s important to take a step back from the intense labor involved in building so many sukkahs and try for a moment to analyze the nature of the great mitzvah involved in stepping out of your home and into your backyard or driveway for an eight-day period.

Unlike any other mitzvah that we may perform in the course of the year, sukkah is the only mitzvah we can do with the entirety of our physicality. When you step over the threshold (if there is one) of your sukkah, you are surrounded immediately by a mitzvah that is commanded explicitly in the Torah, not just hinted at.

And considering the amount of sukkahs they sell and erect in the course of this season, it is important to note that Steven and Jonathan, whether they are aware of it or not, play an important role in our performance of this mitzvah.

I’ve watched them work and have observed the seamless fashion in which they put up the most fashionable sukkahs that enhance and beautify this great mitzvah. And by the way, in case you were wondering, I’ve checked the ten-day weather forecast, and up here in the northeast it is going to be quite cold on the first few Sukkos evenings next week.

The Littons shared that for some warmer climates and when Sukkos occurs in a non-leap year when it is still kind of summery outside, they have designed sukkah walls in which an air-conditioning unit can be installed. In fact, after looking at the forecast I’m making a note to myself to ask about the possibility of a heater in the sukkah.

Our plan this year is to be at our children in Chestnut Ridge, which is near Monsey, and the forecast says 38 degrees this coming Sunday night and in the low 40s through the week. So the choices in the week ahead could be a heavy sweater, a warm jacket, very hot soup or tea, or a heater in the sukkah. And that shouldn’t be so impossible. If a sukkah in Boca Raton can have A/C, why can’t we have heaters?

On another Sukkos-related matter, Sukkos in Eretz Yisrael this year is going to be a massive post-pandemic breakout party. One of the questions I’ve been asked most often in the last couple of weeks by friends and acquaintances is whether I am joining them in Israel for yom tov. When I say that we are not going for Sukkos, I get a look of surprise and then usually hear, “But you’re always there!”

The reality is that we are not always there, though Israel is always on my mind and something I focus on daily. So while we won’t be in Israel for Sukkos this year, I like to think that Israel is always in us.

The plan, in case you are wondering, is to be there a couple of months later, over Chanukah, to observe my father’s 33rd yahrzeit, and I am indeed looking forward to that visit.

So now we are pretty much up to date as we prepare to take a week off from publishing during chol ha’moed. Until next time, we wish all a Chag Sameach. n

Read more of Larry Gordon’s articles at Follow 5 Towns Jewish Times on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates and live videos. Comments, questions, and suggestions are welcome at and on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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