The couple's daughter Rachel – just six months old and born in Israel – was also on hand to help.
The group of about half a dozen people from AKIM – a national non-profit organization in Israel that represents a population of 30,000 mentally handicapped individuals – created colorful paper chains, and artwork for the sukkah, as well as papier-mâché pomegranates.
Ambassador Gould helped roll out the schach bamboo mat covering the top of the sukkah and to hang up the paper chains and posters. The AKIM group also presented the ambassador with mezuzah covers that they had made especially for him and his wife.
Inside the sukkah (Photo: Jeff Newman, British Embassy Israel)
Ambassador Gould said, “This is the first sukkah we’ve had in the British Ambassador’s residence in Israel. It’s also Celia and my first ever sukkah, so we’re very excited about it.
"Sukkot is a fabulous and important festival and we’re really pleased that we can celebrate it by putting the sukkah up. It is particularly nice for us that we’re doing it with the young men and women of AKIM who’ve come up and made these beautiful decorations; they are really making the sukkah look fantastic.
"We’ve really enjoyed getting to know AKIM and we really value the work that they do and for us it’s very special to have a sukkah that’s been decorated by them.”
Gideon Mitchnik, the head of AKIM’s Ramat Gan branch, thanked the ambassador and Mrs. Gould.
“The connection with British Embassy and British ambassadors is a long one and we are proud of it. Our members are happy to be here, and are very happy to be hosted by the ambassador and his wife and the warm tradition of connection between the British ambassadors and the AKIM family is a great honor for us.”
This is the first time that a sukkah has been built at the British ambassador's residence in Ramat Gan. Gould is Britain's first Jewish ambassador to Israel, and has been in the post for exactly one year.
The ambassador and his wife intend to eat as many meals as possible in the sukkah, and have several high-level dinners planned for the week-long holiday.
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