Now having lived in our house for just about a year, my husband and I are building our first sukkah. So far the structural process has gone pretty well, thanks to a do-it-yourself kit sold at our synagogue.
But the issue of decorations is a much larger question. We don’t have a box full of decor from years past. Unlike other holidays, such as or Passover for which we received ritual objects as wedding gifts, we had nothing at all for the . Somehow I can’t imagine that making paper chains is a good use of time for anyone over the age of five.
Staring at the white tarp alone while my husband went to purchase a folding table (another need for the sukkah) I came up with an idea. I went straight for a box we really haven’t unpacked in the last year. In it I knew were old pictures of friends, family, and even a few shots from my last visit to Israel.
As I stuck the pictures to the tarp, I thought about all of the guests, friends old and new, that will be visiting our sukkah this week. I was careful to find pictures of all of those friends to put inside. I thought about my family back home in Dallas and Washington, D.C., who I don’t get to see too often. And I thought about those family members that may watching from somewhere beyond this world.
We’re hoping to start a new tradition. We’re asking everyone who visits our sukkah to bring a picture of them (preferably with us) to hang in our sukkah.
In a sense, it’s our way of welcoming a special type of ushpizin.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.
Pronounced: SOO-kah (oo as in book) or sue-KAH, Origin: Hebrew, the temporary hut built during the Harvest holiday of Sukkot.