Why should you listen to me? Well…I’m “The Jewish Guy That Won Survivor,” and the skills I learned growing up in my Jewish community are what helped me survive Survivor…
Think about it: Fasting was not an issue – I do that once a year anyway on Yom Kippur. Sleeping outside on the cold ground was simple because I build a Sukkah. Eating nasty food was a joy because I’ve had to eat gefilte fish jelly. And I have already endured the most grueling test of strength and perseverance known to man…my bris.
Here are some tips to Survivor Sukkot…and sleeping outside.
1. Embrace the Unknown – Sleeping Outside is the ultimate unknown. You have been given this opportunity and have chosen to take it on because you have everything you need to succeed. Trust that you are prepared and that you are taken care of. You are being forced out of your comfort zone in a major way and will learn and grow from this if you are able to fully run toward the experience.
2. Embrace nature – Nature is a huge part of Judaism. Throughout the year, we often spend so much time indoors — in schools, homes, synagogues. Sukkot is the first time many young people connect with Judaism on a physical level, by sleeping outside.
3. When you go to sleep in your sleeping bag, bring extra clothes inside so when you wake up in the morning they are not freezing cold.
4. When building a kosher Sukkah, you only have to worry about two major things. Walls that are stable and a roof that is not, the exact opposite of Survivor…so, you’re on yor own with this one.
5. Wear long sleeved shirt with a hood and long pants. Tuck your pants into your socks, put your hood up, rub some strong on the hands and nose…and you should be bug free while you sleep.
6. To be honest, a freshly showered person that smells like apples and honey will get eaten by bugs more…no fresh scented clothes…or showers…
7. Some people were born with cold feet. To cope while camping, fill your water bottle up with hot water and throw it in the bottom of your sleeping bag before bedtime. A few potatoes heated in the oven works too…
8. As for sleeping on the ground…I would put a tarp on the ground first to block water and condensation. Then another layer of comfort on top of that. If you do not have a chiropractic certified blow up XL King mattress…use kids’ play mats…These little colorful foam tiles are not terribly expensive, and they will help you to avoid sleeping on rocks and twigs that may be under your Sukkah. You can also use yoga mats and those swimming pool blow up floaty thingies…Plus, they help to spruce up the interior of your Sukkah, too.
9. Deodorant is a great medicine for bug bites and other itches. Just rub your deodorant over the itchy area and it will stop the itching.
10. Take a long a few oranges into your Sukkah. Not only are they a delicious and healthy snack, you can turn the peels into candles. You can use any citrus actually, like lemons, grapefruit, or limes, too. You’ll also need some standard kitchen oils like vegetable, olive, etc. Not only does this help light up your Sukkah it smells wonderful!