On Sukkot, starting this year on the evening of Oct. 8, it's considered a mitzvah to dwell in your sukkah.
The Torah says: "In Succot, you should dwell for seven days. Every citizen of Israel should dwell in succot, so that your generation will know that I caused the Children of Israel to dwell in succot when I brought them forth from the Land of Egypt." (Vayikra/Lev. 23:42-3)
In that spirit, Oy!Chicago asked its readers the following hypothetical question: If you could invite any "ushpizin"-Sukkah guests-into your sukkah-living or dead, famous or not-who would top your guest list?
I would invite my baby niece, Sloane Agdern. Since she was born I have been anxious to show her the extreme joy and beauty I have found in Judaism. I simply can't wait to share each and every holiday with her, and then start over, and share them all again.
-Beverly Agdern, Chicago
My first reaction was I would invite my son, Jeffery, who died of Leukemia at the age of 12 on Sept. 11, 1981. He has left a hole in my heart. Then I thought of my three granddaughters-Lily, Bella, and Sage who have helped me to keep going. It is a hard choice, the past or the future!
-Charlene Wexler, Richmond, IL
I would have people who are known to be great conversationalists: Paul Simon (the singer), Spike Lee, Billy Crystal, Meryl Streep, Dick Cavett, Anna Quindlen, and George Will. Oh, who am I kidding- they'd just end up talking about baseball.
-Paul Wieder, Chicago
I would invite Angelina Jolie. I'm a big fan of hers, and hopefully she would bring her kids and her husband.
-Jonathan Weissbrot, Chicago
I would like to invite my future great-great-grandson to eat with me in our sukkah so we could talk about being Jewish and the state of Israel.
-Robert Feiger, Deerfield
If I could invite anyone to my Sukkah this year, it would have to be the Chicago-native writer, actor, and comedian, the late Harold Ramis. Sukkot occurs just after a very intense time on the Jewish calendar and with his perfect comedic timing, philosophical insight, and easy going manner, Mr. Ramis would bring just the right balance of laughs and thoughtfulness to any Sukkot celebration. Sukkot is a time when we remember and get to experience how the Jews lived when they wandered the desert in search of a better place, and Mr. Ramis would most certainly makes us stop and think about how we could make this year better for each other, and not just like another Groundhog day.
-Brad Arlen, Chicago
I would invite the Dalai Lama to my sukkah. I feel that simply being around him would be peaceful. He promotes everything that I try to live by-being present, living in the moment, and living a life of kindness, peace, and love. "Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." ~Dalai Lama
-Jaime Olson, Chicago
Justin Timberlake. You said anyone, right? Sukkot always feels so festive to me and there's nothing more festive than laughing, singing, and dancing with your family and friends. Well, JT has got it all: he sings, he dances, and his comedy skills are dead on. Why not have him join the Lovitz family celebration?
-Lori Lovitz, Chicago