Baltimore, MD - October 8, 2017- Jason Broth was half joking when he suggested to a fellow Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company firefighter, who is not Jewish, that the fire station should put up a Sukkah.

“One night, we were talking about how a lot of the people who have recently joined are orthodox, and I told him it would be very nice if we could put up a Sukkah,” recalls Jason. “He’s been around a long time, growing up in Pikesville, and he said, ‘Yeah, it would be!’”

Jason shared his suggestions as to where, exactly, they could construct it, and how he could build it ‘on the cheap’. They could use it on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

“I told him that people who eat in the Sukkah, won’t be able to be at the station during mealtime,” continues Jason. “They would have to go home to eat and may not come right back. If we have a Sukkah, this would be a great idea. He said, ‘I agree!’

Jason took his idea to Captain Scott Goldstein and asked him what his thoughts were about it. After confirming that Jason would take care of it, the Captain told him he would give him a small budget. He was thrilled with the idea because it would be inclusive and keep people at the station. Jason’s creative mind went to work.

“I do a lot of sukkah builds, since construction is my business; I put up between 20 and 30 of them, for different people,” said Jason. “I’m in close contact with Yitzy Reznitsky, of Sukkah Depot. When I mentioned the idea to him, and told him that he had a very small budget to buy one, he told me, ‘I think I can give you one. I think it is a phenomenal idea and I would like to be part of it.’ He could have sold it, but he donated it to the firehouse.”

Jason did not stop there. He next approached the Captain, for a second time, and told him that since a lot of people around here don’t understand what a Sukkah is, he would suggest that they have a Sunday morning breakfast, in the intermediary days of the holiday. The captain was all for it and he told Jason to arrange it.

With the firehouse’s current $3 million renovation, however, there was no extra money in the budget for the breakfast.

“I spoke with a bunch of kosher vendors and we got food donated by many different area vendors for the breakfast,” said Jason. “We called it ‘Sukkos with the Captain’. It took on a life of its own and the vendors were very supportive of it and happy to be part of it. Some of my orthodox colleagues helped me put up the Sukkah while some of the non-Jewish volunteers watched. They asked what everything was for and what the rules are. It was kind of a learning experience across the board. Now the firehouse owns a Sukkah and we can put it up every year.”

Yoni Spigelman, an EMT at the Pikesville Volunteer Fire Company, and one of Jason's Sukkah construction helpers, notes that the building of the Sukkah is just one of the many ways that the fire company is being inclusive of its numerous orthodox volunteers. In the firehouse’s newly upgraded kitchen, there are amenities such as a strictly kosher microwave and refrigerator to accommodate them.

“They can now feel like they are really part of the group at the firehouse and not always feel like they have to run home during dinnertime, because they don’t have food there,” explains Yoni. “We have so many orthodox volunteers who really want to help the community. Jason’s idea that was put into action, with the Captain’s blessing, was a first in the 120-year history of the company.

“Fire companies, in general, are not places where there are very many Jews, let alone Orthodox Jews,” notes Yoni. “I feel very honored to be part of this firehouse, where they are willing to go out of their way for all the volunteers so they can feel comfortable, regardless of what background they come from.”