(This article originally appeared in the Omaha Jewish Press.)

As the Temple Israel congregation continues to plan its exodus from its Cass Street home, the holiday of Sukkot, which commemorates the 40 years of wandering in the desert after the Jewish exodus from Egypt, seems a perfect opportunity to introduce the congregation to its new, as-yet-unfinished home on Sterling Ridge Drive.

Temple Israel invites the community to come together on Erev Sukkot, Sunday, September 30, for an evening picnic, complete with sukkah, at 13111 Sterling Ridge Drive, the site of the new, still-under-construction Temple Israel.

“Sukkot is a holiday following our most introspective time of the year. It asks us to get out and do something very concrete, to build a sukkah, and also to be out in the elements and to feel the world,” Rabbi Josh Brown said. “We’re in the midst of building this building, so it’s the obvious time for us as a community to go and see the hard work that’s being done, the concrete work that’s going on, so that we can engage in the land that we’re going to occupy.”

The service and picnic will begin with the Erev Sukkot service at 5 p.m. in the parking lot of the new building. There will be a sukkah in the parking lot and brief tours will be given around the outside of the new building.

“That’s what Sukkot is about. It’s about going out in the field, outside of our homes and remembering that our homes extend outside the walls,” Rabbi Brown said.

Most of the new building’s parking lots are paved, according to Rob Zimmerman of Project Advocates. The foundation walls are complete, as are the foundations themselves. The limestone is currently being fabricated and shipped from Israel. The facade stone will begin to be installed in October.

If you’ve driven past the construction site on 132nd Street, you might have noticed the structural steel being erected. The lower level, administration wing and social hall are nearly complete, Zimmerman said.

Over the next few months, placement of the main level concrete slab will begin, as will the placement of the structural steel of the sanctuary. The exterior walls will also be constructed.

If you plan on attending Temple Israel’s Sukkot picnic, please RSVP at RSVP@templeisraelomaha.com or call Program Director Wendy Goldberg at 402.556.6536. Those with last names that begin A-L are asked to bring a side dish, while M-Z are asked to bring a dessert. Temple Israel will provide the main dish. If it rains, the service and picnic will be held indoors at the current Temple Israel.