Pizza in the Hut popular for Sukkot

By: Veronica Hinke | Contributor 












Guests during last year's "Pizza in the Hut," held at Lubavitch Chabad in Northbrook for Sukkot. This year's event is Sept. 22.



Guests during last year's "Pizza in the Hut," held at Lubavitch Chabad in Northbrook for Sukkot. This year's event is Sept. 22.








Beef brisket slathered in thick gravy with a side of carrot tzimmes and a fluffy chunk of challah bread typically come to mind as foods for the Jewish holiday table. But if your idea of kosher foods only goes as far as matzah balls and kishkes, consider the latest trend for Sukkot — kosher pizza.

Many of these celebrations have become known as “kosher pizza in the hut,” a riff on the well-known pizza chain. And the idea is a perfect fit — kosher pizza is more popular than ever, and so is the tradition of eating meals in the sukkah, or hut, with groups of family or friends during Sukkot. This year Sukkot takes place Sept. 18-25.

To commemorate Sukkot (the plural of sukkah), sukkahs are often erected in back yards of homes and synagogues. Many people eat all of their meals in the sukkah in honor of Biblical ancestors who traveled for centuries transporting collapsible, hut-like structures. Those who observe Sukkot are encouraged to spend as much time as possible in the sukkah during the week-long holiday — including sleeping in the hut.

The one major requirement for the construction of a sukkah is that it must have at least two and a half walls that will not blow away in the wind. Many modern sukkahs are elaborate structures — some even feature panels that open automatically by air power rather than electricity.

But one thing has remained the same since Biblical times — the sukkah is a gathering place for groups of family and friends. And crowd-pleasing favorites like pizza are the perfect foods for such occasions. “Sukkot is the holiday of unity,” explained Rabbi Meir Moscowitz, director of Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook. “What could be better than sharing a pie together as we unite under one roof?”

Like many synagogues across the United States, Lubavitch Chabad has been hosting Kosher Pizza in the Hut as an annual event for Sukkot. “Eating pizza in the sukkah fulfills the mitzvah — or obligation — of eating in the sukkah and is a fun way to teach the youth about the holiday,” Moscowitz said.

After all, what kid can resist pizza?

Like they did last year, EJ’s Pizzeria in Skokie will cater the Lubavitch Chabad Pizza in the Hut event.

Sushi in the Sukkah is another popular food custom. It’s a riff on the many restaurants with the name Sushi Hut.

As long as the food is kosher, which means it conforms to the regulations of “kashrut,” or Jewish dietary law, just about anything goes.

And that other Italian favorite for big groups, pasta, is also popular for Sukkot. “Penne Pasta alla Vodka is one of our preferred pastas,” said EJ’s Pizzeria owner Ronald Slovin.

The base of his recipe for Penne Pasta alla Vodka is heavy cream, marinara sauce and the vodka that provides that wonderful flavor accent. The alcohol is cooked out during preparation.

“It’s a party-size recipe,” Slovin said.

And that is just about what every cook wants and needs for dinner in the Sukkah.

For details about Kosher Pizza in the Hut at Lubavitch Chabad of Northbrook on Sept. 22, see