For the first time, software giant Salesforce is celebrating Sukkot by erecting a sukkah at Salesforce Park, the tree-lined public green space stretching for four blocks above the transit center in downtown San Francisco.
Chabad of San Francisco and Faithforce built the sukkah on Wednesday morning and will keep it up until next Tuesday.
“Thousands of Jews work downtown on a daily basis,” said Rabbi Moshe Langer of Chabad of SF. “A lot of them would love to have a sukkah on the holiday, but they don’t know how to build one, or don’t know what it is.
#Jewish and #Christian employees building a #Sukkah together in the #SalesforcePark for #Sukkot2019! A beautiful example of allyship and #unity. All are welcome! #BetterTogether #FaithDiversity@SalesforceEQ Sponsored by #Faithforce and #chabadSF pic.twitter.com/YyriAddAoi
— Sue Warnke (@suewarnke) October 16, 2019
“Every other sukkah is either at a synagogue or at somebody’s house,” he said. “This sukkah is open to anybody who wants to use it.”
Chabad purchased the sukkah from a vendor in Los Angeles with help from an anonymous donor and $1,000 from Faithforce, Langer said.
Faithforce is an interfaith affinity group populated by employees at the web-based software company, which recently surpassed Wells Fargo as the city’s largest employer. Supporting religious and spiritual diversity at the company, Faithforce is one of 12 “Equality Groups” along with collectives like Latinoforce, Vetforce, Earthforce and Outforce, an LGBTQ group.
Langer has worked with Salesforce before, helping to facilitate volunteers who assemble hygiene kits and serve matzah ball soup in the Tenderloin. And he has spearheaded building sukkahs at Dreamforce, an annual fall conference, in years past. This is the first time a sukkah will sit for the week at the public park.
Salesforce, which employs more than 35,000 people worldwide and more than 8,000 in San Francisco, was co-founded by Marc Benioff, the Jewish co-CEO and chairman who attends services at Congregation Emanu-El.
The 16-by-18-foot, fully kosher sukkah will be open to the public during park hours, from around 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. every day. Lulavs and etrogs will be available, as will prayer sheets, Langer said.
Langer and his wife, Taliah, run Chabad of Pacific Heights. He said he was particularly excited about the sukkah’s central location in Salesforce Park. First opened last year, it is an oasis of green space perched in the shadow of Salesforce Tower and other large office buildings in the Financial District.
“There’s seven or eight mega high-rises right there,” he said. “Everybody will be able to look down and see it.”
“People can come have their lunch, eat their dinner,” he said. “It will bring awareness of the holiday to people walking in the park, for both Jews and non-Jews.”