Not In Jersey: Sukkah Decorations Sukkah Decorations - Not In Jersey

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sukkah Decorations

I got a few questions after my last entry regarding why we eat in our Sukkah. Here is some more information about the Sukkot holiday, from a website that I think explains Jewish customs and traditions very well, jewfaq.org.

Sukkot has a dual significance: historical and agricultural. Historically, Sukkot commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, living in temporary shelters. Agriculturally, Sukkot is a harvest festival.

The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that we are commanded to live in during this holiday in memory of the period of wandering. The Hebrew pronunciation of Sukkot is "Sue COAT," but is often pronounced as in Yiddish, to rhyme with "BOOK us."

In honor of the holiday's historical significance, we are commanded to dwell in temporary shelters, as our ancestors did in the wilderness. The temporary shelter is referred to as a sukkah (which is the singular form of the plural word "sukkot"). Like the word sukkot, it can be pronounced like Sue-KAH, or to rhyme with Book-a.

The sukkah is great fun for the children. Building the sukkah each year satisfies the common childhood fantasy of building a fort, and dwelling in the sukkah satisfies a child's desire to camp out in the backyard. The commandment to "dwell" in a sukkah can be fulfilled by simply eating all of one's meals there; however, if the weather, climate, and one's health permit, one should spend as much time in the sukkah as possible, including sleeping in it.

The "walls" of the sukkah do not have to be solid; canvas covering tied or nailed down is acceptable and quite common in the United States. A sukkah may be any size, so long as it is large enough for you to fulfill the commandment of dwelling in it. The roof of the sukkah must be made of material referred to as sekhakh (literally, covering). To fulfill the commandment, sekhakh must be something that grew from the ground and was cut off, such as tree branches, corn stalks, bamboo reeds, sticks, or two-by-fours.

It is common practice, and highly commendable, to decorate the sukkah. In the northeastern United States, Jews commonly hang dried squash and corn in the sukkah to decorate it, because these vegetables are readily available at that time for the American holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving. Many families hang artwork drawn by the children on the walls. Building and decorating a sukkah is a fun family project.

And now I’m excited to share our decorations with you!

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I found the red ball at Target along with the foam apple shapes which Gabbie wrote on.

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I got these pear ornaments at a garage sale a few houses away from ours. They are so perfect to hang from the roof!

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The leaf garlands are from Michaels. The lights are from I think Target, last year after Christmas.

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I made this leaf garland using the paint chips you can find at Home Depot.

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On the left is Zachary’s Lulav and Etrog (another Sukkot observance) poster; Gabbie’s from kindergarten is on the right.

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On the top is Gabbie’s Sukkah poster from kindergarten; on the bottom is Zachary’s.

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Zachary also made this, it is a chart of the 7 guests that are symbolically invited into our Sukkah. You can see Gabbie’s chart from kindergarten above in the picture 3 up from this one. It’s orange.

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Simon also made decorations, the top is a picture of him shaking the lulav and etrog (toy version) and the bottom says “welcome” in Hebrew. As an aside, here are some pictures of Simon playing with the lulav and etrog and painting these projects at school!

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Isn’t he cute?

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This is my centerpiece. I filled the vase with potpourri leftover from my entry way project. I also borrowed one of the stems from the entryway. This stayed on the table today for about 10 minutes before we had to move it to make room for food!

I hope to post even more about Sukkot this week, so please feel free to leave me any more questions you may have! Thanks so much for reading!

Linking to:
Lil\'Luna

7 comments:

Leslie @ Violet Imperfection said...

Thank you for sharing your traditions with us. I love how the how family is able to participate and contribute.

Amy - while wearing heels said...

What a great educational post filled with great info and some fun thrown in there too. And, I do agree, your little one is ADORABLE. what a fun tradition.

K Coake said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I enjoyed learning more. I like learning about religions and traditions I don't know about. I love your decorations and the decorations the kids made. I don't think I have to fill out the word verification, to answer your question from early. If I do, when I click publish on this one, I will add another comment to let you know.
Take care.

dayna @ mothspit.com said...

I love the decorations, especially the pears and all the art your children made! I had never heard of Sukkah before, but its super interesting. I love the idea of everyone in the family pitching in to make a little dwelling.

Dara said...

testing

Libby said...

I left a surprise for you on my blog. Check it out Thursday morning. :-)

Roshni AaMom said...

Thanks so much for the explanation! Your decorations are awesome!