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A Succah on the Sea

Sara Miriam Gross

When Succos time comes around, we leave our homes and head into our temporary succahs. But some people don't live in strong, permanent homes during the year either. Mishpacha Junior spoke with Naomi Salle of Holland, whose family spent over two years living on a houseboat in Finland.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MJ: When and how did you come to live on a boat?

Mrs. Salle: In 2002 my husband was studying advanced physics and needed to learn in a few locations in Finland. We started with the idea of living on a boat because we couldn't find a house that was affordable and near a shul. We bought an old river boat that had been built in 1915 and sailed it from our native Holland through the Netherlands, Poland, Karingrad Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, until we reached Helsinki, Finland; a journey of five weeks.

We spent our first year docked in a harbor in Helsinki on the Gulf of Finland, and the rest of the time on a little island off of Helsinki, called Suomenlinna. There were four of us:  my husband, myself, nine-year-old Channah, and six-month-old Eli, though the boat could take up to ten people. The boat was 18 meters long. Since it was over 15 meters, my husband had to pass a special international test in order to receive a license to sail it. The back part of the boat was our living quarters and the front part of the boat, which was once used as a loading area for cargo, became our living room. It had five rooms — a little study room, a living room, a small bathroom, and three bedrooms — although bedroom is not quite the right word since they were only 1.20 meters high (3.28 feet). The study room was just high enough for me to stand in, but my husband, who is tall, could only stand up in one spot in the living room and one spot in the study. If you look at the photo of my husband helping with the dishes you'll see he is sitting near the sink — that's because he couldn’t stand up there!


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