Masbia, which operates three restaurant-style centers distributing food to the needy, will construct sukkah booths during this week’s festival and remain open throughout the holiday, the organization announced Monday.
While the Borough Park location previously opened for a limited time during Sukkot, it is the first time all three locations, including those in Flatbush, Brooklyn, and Rego Park, Queens will open for the full week.
While the sukkahs are small, and will accommodate only a handul of people at a time, Masbia will depart from its usual rules and provide meals to go.
“We expect to give out 500 to 600 meals a day,” said Masbia founder Alexander Rapoport. He added that the sukkahs will be constructed and removed daily at the Brooklyn locations, so as not to obstruct the sidewalk, while the Queens location has backyard space to allow the sukkah to remain up.
He said the organization could not open on Sukkot in the past because of the prohibitive cost of retaining staff during the Yom Tov, or restrictive holiday period of the first and last two days, which this year blend into Shabbat in both cases. But this year, growing need and successful fundraising combined to make it possible.
Masbia relies almost completely on private donations, but receives about $100,000, or 5 percent of its budget, from City Council members, including David Greenfield, Brad Lander, Lew Fidler and Jumaane Williams in Brooklyn and David Weprin in Queens.