Jennifer Rusciano, Detroit, MI

Artist Statement

What structures hold up our lives? As we sit in the fragile and temporary shelter of the sukkah, we gaze through the roof towards eternity and are reminded of the true pillars – family, friends, our spiritual homes. “How the Light Gets In” is co-created with participants, inviting us all to explore how we may take down the walls in our lives to let the light inside. Participants will enter a dark sukkah, anchored by a large tree whose (unattached, s’chach) branches form the roof and whose roots form two sitting benches. A circular seating arrangement invites guests to gather and face one other. A sign guides visitors to write how the light gets into their lives -- a friend, a practice, a quote -- on pieces of heavy fabric adhered to the walls. The fabric pieces are then removed, flooding the space with colorful light. The backing plexiglass walls, covered in fluorescent gels, reveal a rainbow of colors as the pieces of fabric are taken down, reminiscent of the mosaic windows at the Downtown Synagogue. The bare branches on the ceiling have places to hang the fabric wall pieces, becoming leaves for the tree-roof. Over time, as more pieces of the walls open to reveal light and color, the tree grows its leaves, filling up with the light participants see in their own lives. Through the practice of re-membering – literally, reassembling the pieces that make us whole – we fulfill the requirement of ushpizin (hospitality) by welcoming all that we are.