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Jewish community brings holiday tradition to teen in hospital

7:08 PM, Sep 18, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Members of the Jewish community are coming together to support a local teen recovering from a pedestrian accident. 

Orly Ohayon, 16, will still be receiving care at UF Health during the Jewish holiday Sukkot, so a group from her former middle school brought the seven day tradition to the hospital.

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On Wednesday, in the middle of a rainstorm, nearly a dozen middle school students from the Martin J. Gottlieb School built a sukkah outside UF Health. 

The Jewish holiday Sukkot begins at sundown Wednesday and lasts until September 25. The tradition requires people of the Jewish faith to eat all their meals underneath a temporary hut for seven days.

"Orly Ohayon is a member of our community. She's a graduate of our school, she will be in the hospital over the holiday and even if she can't come down and use it, the family and friends that are staying will have the opportunity to observe the Mitzvah, the commandment, if we build it here for them," said Edith Horovitz, Vice Principal at Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.

Students used natural materials like palm leaves and tree branches to cover the top of the sukkah. Vice Principal of the school Edith Horovitz says when Orly was a student she also participated in building sukkahs for the community. 

"She went out for three years in a row with me building sukkahs in the community and it just seemed like how could we not do the same for her," said Horovitz.

Horovitz says Orly is expected to remain in the hospital throughout the holiday. 

"It's such a tragic sad situation. I'm relieved and happy that she's healing well, but it doesn't mitigate the tragedy of what's happened," added Horovitz.

According to school personnel, Orly's mother, Esther Ohayon was a DuBow Preschool teacher on the campus since 2006. The sukkah will also honor her memory.

"Esther was just sweet. She was the kind of person that no matter what, had a smile on her face and just she was a sweet wonderful person," said Horovitz.

First Coast News

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