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 Hanukkah or Passover for which we received ritual objects as wedding gifts, we had nothing at all for the sukkah. 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.