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Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Sukkah burned in Boulder

. . . and I didn't even know about it!

I've got to get my head out of the Jerusalem Post and pay more attention to the immediate neighborhood! I was just reading a copy of the Intermountain Jewish News (their most recent issue in not yet online; when it is, I'll provide a link), and on page 16, I see the headline: "A burning sukkah in Boulder" - I flipped. It was the sukkah of a friend of mine . I don't know which is worse, that it happened, or that nobody's mentioned it to me. I've been at the Jewish community center several times in the last week, have talked to lots of people, and nobody has said a word. Is it because people don't know, or they don't think it's a big deal?

I've made some calls out to the community to find out more, but for the time being I know nothing more than what's in this article. Rather than type it all out, I'll just give you some highlights:
"Although it's still early in the investigation, Boulder police do not feel the person or persons who burned a sukkah in North Boulder Oct. 18 were motivated by hate. [Well, that's a relief, eh?] . . . as of press time, no one had been apprehended in connection with the incident . . . Douglas (Feivel) Ettelson had erected the sukkah in the backyard area of his apartment complex. He constructed it with plywood and branches that were nearby, and also used a carseat that was in the area as a bench . . .

"I came back to my place Saturday afternoon [Shabbos]" he told IJN. "I wanted to go to the sukkah before going to shul, but instead I found the sukkah burnt to the ground."

On Monday, Ettelson spoke with the Boulder police, the Boulder Fire Dept. and the FBI and explained about the holiday of Sukkot and the sukkah. He also contacted the ADL.

He says he decorated his sukkah, which was "very small," "just big enough for one person," with a map of Israel and portions of the Torah in Hebrew and English, and Jewish art. "It was pretty clear this was a Jewish thing," he says.

Ettelson syas tht when he saw the burned sukkah, his first reaction was shock and disbelief [no kidding]. Then he thought it might have been accidental. "Someone could have left a cigarette burning."

Even if the fire was a hate crime, Ettelson expressed more disappointment than anger. "I hope that person would get help and is able to realize what he did."
I hope we are all able to find out why this was done, and indeed, realize it. I'll keep you posted.