Amanda Cuda, Connecticut Post

The Jewish holiday of Sukkot is known as the "Time of Joy."

During the seven-day festival, the faithful take their meals (and sometimes even sleep) in a sukkah, a hut made of temporary construction, covered with a roof of branches. It's seen as a time to celebrate one's relationship with God, and is often honored with music and other festivities. To recognize this holiday, which began Wednesday, Rabbi Shlame Landa, director of Chabad of Fairfield, decided to do something a little different.

On Sunday, Chabad sponsored Sukkot Festival at the Beach, which included not only a canvas sukkah positioned on the beach, but also food, music and crafts. Landa said this is the first time Chabad has held the beach event, and he thought it was a unique way to honor the holiday. "It's a nice outdoor celebration," he said.

Sukkot honors the way God protected the Jewish people during the 40 years they traveled in the Sinai Desert. During that time, Landa said, it's said that "clouds of glory" hovered over them, protecting them from the elements. Spending time in the sukkah is meant to honor that protection. "The core idea of the festival is to celebrate our relationship with God," Landa said.

Part of the challenge of the holiday is that it typically takes place during autumn — "a time when most people head indoors," Landa pointed out. Yet, despite Sunday's windy weather, many people showed up at the beach to celebrate the holiday and enjoy dinner in the canvas-walled sukkah.

Andy Schultz, of Stamford, and his family were hunkered down in the Jennings Beach sukkah Sunday evening. Schultz said he made the trip out to the beach both to support Chabad, and because he liked the idea behind the event. "This is sort of a unique backdrop, being on the beach," Schultz said. "It's to do something a little unique."

Stacy Kennedy, of Fairfield, and her 16-year-old daughter Sarah said, though they have a sukkah at home, the beach event intrigued them. "We just thought it would be fun," Stacy Kennedy said. "It's always nice to be with other people and be a part of the community."