Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sukkot and parenting

Many years ago, before my conversion, JP and I were walking in NYC, close to Battery Park. There were all these little booths, canvas-sided most of them, small, with tree limbs over the roofs. Lots of black hats around and lots and lots of children. JP explained that it was Succos, a Jewish holiday with which I was unfamiliar.

Sukkot was not a holiday I was particularly educated about as I was converting but it has become one of my family's favorites. It is holiday to celebrate the harvest, the bounty of G-d's world.

Most years we have built a sukkah on the deck. For years we had a latticework and beam contraption that we stored under the deck during the rest of the year. It was hard to assemble and required extensive scouring of the neighborhood and beyond to get enough schach, or leafy stuff, to put on top of the sukkah. You should be able to see the stars through the leaves at night but there should be ample shade during the day.

A few years ago, we switched to an aluminum frame, one made to be used as a canopy at the flea market. We hang canvas tarps for the sides and I sewed strips of burlap together to form a top, which can be thrown over the aluminum support pieces. It is wonderfully easy to put up. And to take down, sometimes weeks after the end of the holiday.

We eat in it, serve guests in it and sleep in it. Some years it is too rainy to enjoy. Some years the nights are bracingly cold for sleeping. Some years it is too hot to sleep comfortably. This year the first 2 nights were warm and the weekend nights have been rainy.

Last year we missed putting one up because we went on a family trip to Chicago. The year before that was one of the best years. We slept in it several nights and I read The Trumpet of the Swan aloud each night.

I want my children to remember Sukkot. I want them to think about sharing the sukkah with their children, hanging decorations from the roof and walls, and sleeping in the cold. I want them to think about what they will miss if their own children do not grow up as Jews. PRM

1 comment:

Lorna said...

Thank you for sharing this with us. I can see why it is your favourite celebration and will be a memory for your children to keep with the generations to come.