I knew exactly what she meant and so did the rest of our family. The apples, the pumpkins, the cider, the honey sticks. Fall is just so…cozy. Lovely. Warm. Cinnamon-y. The beautiful colors and the bounty of leaves truly set the scene for some of the year’s sweetest (candy-coated!) moments.
My parents and I moved around a lot. So we were constantly finding new people and places to fill our memory tank full of just such times. I often wish that I could put all of those memories, places and people right into my pocket and take them with me wherever I go. Because some candy-coated moments in time are even sweeter when shared with friends.
The high holidays, a time of repentance, have ended and now it’s Sukkot, “The Time of Our Happiness.” After our ancestors left Egypt, they wandered the desert for forty years on their way to Israel. Along the way they constructed temporary homes out of dry palms and branches. So on Sukkot we welcome and celebrate the change of the season and its fall harvest as well as pay homage to our ancestors by ‘dwelling’ in a temporary hut known as a sukkah.
In other words, we make forts. I’m not sure if it gets much more candy-coated than that! We eat and play in our sukkot. And if our parents are really, really cool, we sleep in them, too. For the record, we are not really, really cool.
But on “Fall 1st” our kids did, indeed, make a sukkah. It’s not fancy or shmancy and let’s just be honest here, some of you wouldn’t even consider it legit. But the kids made it themselves. And they love it. And are so very proud of it. And I am so very proud of them for it.
We have already dwelled well in our sukkah. We’ve eaten, rested, snacked and read books. One of those books was Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express by Deborah Bodin Cohen.
This sweet story exemplifies the joy and the fun of a sukkah. That part’s a given. Remember? It’s basically a fort. But the book also focuses on the joy and the fun of making and sharing the sukkah with friends.
Engineer Ari does indeed enjoy building and decorating a sukkah with the help of his friends. But finds true joy when a creative way is found to share the sukkah with all of his friends, near and far. He manages to fill up his pocket, so to speak. And I so love that.
As we closed this lovely book I could literally see my girls’ wheels turning. They wanted to share their sukkah with friends, but weren’t quite sure who would be appropriate to invite. While they’re hyper-aware of who celebrates what they celebrate (and who doesn’t), they’re not quite sure how to do the mixing and meshing and learning that comes from wonderful, beautiful, make-the-world-a-better-place differences. Yet.
So we probed and prodded them by flipping the situation around. Would they care about their friends’ traditions? Christmas trees or Easter eggs or what have you?
My girlfriend and I casually and naturally talked about our kids growing up thinking that everyone has popcorn in sukkahs at one house and later in the year goes on Easter egg hunts at the house next door. And really, I can’t think of anything more heartwarming or rich or beautiful or respectful or dreamy. For all of us.
If I could, I’d gather all of you up into our sukkah. It would be complete with nukys and loveys for the under-two set. And perhaps cider warmed whichever way you prefer for the rest of us. Our Oma would make the best Chex mix. Ever. And we’d all make memories together. The kind that I can carry around in my pocket. And you can carry around in yours. And it would be sigh-worthy and dreamily candy-coated, indeed.
Thank you to Kar-Ben Publishing for making my
children’s book collection as candy-coated as can be!
Ehren pointed at Brody’s picture and yelled “baby!” Haha. He’s quite excited with his 10-word vocabulary. I love how you weave the book reviews throughout your family narratives. This is such a comforting space. Happy Friday!
I’d come! And I’d bring a little homemade sign that read ‘sukkah sweet sukkah’.
You share the best stories, thank you for that:)
I think that Jewish traditions are beautiful. I love all of the celebrations. For a few years, when I was young, we had a Passover Seder. I loved it- the food was so good, and the historical and religious significance of it was humbling. I still make matzo ball soup occasionally, just to bring back those memories.
So anyway, I think that any opportunity we have to learn about another religion is one that we should take. And really, building forts is just plain old fun.
Galit, what a lovely article! Thanks for sharing your beautiful family’s traditions, stories, and pictures.
It sounds like a wonderful thing to do….Celebrating ALL the different Holidays of many different Faiths, is a WONDERFUL thing to do. And frankly, if there is ever to be Peace in this world it will come from the sharing and understanding of other people’s beliefs, as well as your own….
Lovely, Lovely, my dear.
“If I could, I’d gather all of you up into our sukkah. It would be complete with nukys and loveys for the under-two set. And perhaps cider warmed whichever way you prefer for the rest of us. Our Oma would make the best Chex mix. Ever. And we’d all make memories together. The kind that I can carry around in my pocket. And you can carry around in yours. And it would be sigh-worthy and dreamily candy-coated, indeed.”
You already have gathered this reader up into your sukkah with this lovely and poignant post, so heartfelt. It is the prose that memories and friends are made of, and so what if we met in the blogging world.
Your photos are lovely, so filled with emotion and joy, special moments and love.
Thank you for sharing part of your world.
From my sukkah to yours…chag sameach!
Oh, I forgot, Tinkerbell resides in my house too, along with all of the “princesses, in one form or another. They have fashioned and designed a sukkah to remember, and I’m sure they will…decades from now.
Again, this is wonderful, Galit! I love learning about your faith and its traditions and admire all that you do with your little family. What special memories you are making for them, and what a loving and secure way to raise your little ones. So inspiring and lovely. Thank you.
I’m envious of your sukkah. Ours is legit but not even half the fun.
Looks like you certainly get a lot of sweet succor in your sukkah (sorry, couldn’t resist that…)!
What a sweet post! The book Something From Nothing came to mind, if you’re not familiar (I’ll bet the fort you are) – check it out. I liked the content and the style, sentences like “they’re not quite sure how to do the mixing and meshing and learning that comes from wonderful, beautiful, make-the-world-a-better-place differences.” It’s a hard thing for anyone to quite know how to do, though your version sounds cool. Your candy coated daughter and your family and home sound lovely. Sukkot and fall are a great time – as great as any but somehow, as you put it, extra “cozy” – to count one’s blessings.
erica, right back at you, lady! so much fun to hear from you! & i have a feeling that ehren and brody would have SO much fun together! too much?! 🙂
christine, aww– i love that! like really, really love that! thanks so much mama!
melissa, hi there mama! i say the next time we sit down to learn from each other it’s over matzoh ball soup, yes? LOVE hearing from you *and* that you used to have a seder!
shirit, hi there lady! thanks so, so much for your sweet note! i so appreciate it! 🙂
naomi, thank you as always. and indeed, peace has to at least start with those wonderful words that you wrote– sharing and understanding! so great to hear from you, as always!
lorri, yowsers! you totally & completely made my day with your beautiful words, you know that right?! xoxo right back at you! 🙂
lisa, thank you mama! i *always* love hearing from you! and seriously thanks for the kind mama words– they mean a lot to me coming from you!
mirj, hi there! thanks for the note and no, that one needn’t be resisted! 🙂 & i think it just might be my turn to ask when *you’re* coming to visit, already! nu?! 🙂
neil, hi there! thanks much for the visit and ever-thoughtful comment! lol yes, you’ve lost the fort. we all *love* something from nothing– and indeed, come what may, at least we can always make a story out of it! 🙂 love that that connection came from *you!* and seriously, fab point about counting our blessings within the beauty of fall– indeed, brother. indeed!
What a great, great post!
I was travelling to our rabbi’s Sukkah event yesterday, on the train with my great friend – a born and bred Jew, and me, the New Jew. He just doesn’t get Sukkot. At All. He was doing the journey to be there, with other friends from our community for a whole host of reasons, but not the ones I was doing it for. I thought it was sad. None of the fun and excitement, not getting into the spirit of it. I’m not judging, at all. But I just felt it was a shame.
Maybe next year, he’ll get it?
We moved around a lot too, so wow, do I know what you mean. I ended up printing out photos of all those people we wish we could have in our sukkah and posting them on its walls, so they’d sort of be there with use. Wish I could take you up on that hot cider!
What a lovely piece & your spot is as cozy as can be. Isn’t it the best to take from all traditions anyway? Especially when for the kids it’s blank holiday at blank’s house & then another at the next person’s…
I love your idea with the sukkah forts! What a wonderful experience and tradition for your family. I’ll also have to get that Engineer Ari book since I have no children’s books about Sukkot. I didn’t even know they existed!
I love the fact that you took the time to explain this wonderful holiday. I’m always glad when I leave a blog and I’ve learned something new!!
Your sukkah looks gorgeous and inviting…I want to make one in my place now.
Beautiful photo of you reading the book to your kids…you should definitely frame it!
Love the photos – I can see all of you having a wonderful time! Just lovely, all the way through.
This looks like so much fun! I love the pictures.
rachel, hi lady! so good to hear from you! i love that you went on a road trip- train style! how fun and cozy is that?! i’m thinking that with your help anyone could “get” anything!
bookishima, wowsers do i ever love that idea! it’s beautiful and eerily so something that i would do! i’ll sip some cider for you and you do the same for me, okay? 🙂
sarah, indeed mama! we’re wanderers and learners by nature right? thanks for the note, i always love hearing from you!
aimee, hi girl! so-very-excellent to hear from you! really, i’m not sure what’s more fun than forts (for kids *and* adults!)!
ameena, hi there! i so love hearing from you. thank you for the kind, thoughtful words. (and btw, i, too, am constantly scoping out frame-worthy photos!)
jenna, thank you so much lady! i always adore hearing from you!!
& beckie, hi there! thanks so much! it’s great to hear from you! 🙂
Wow that is so neat to hear about, I always read that part of the scripture and the commandment for the Isrealites to celebrate this memory but had never heard or seen someone describe how it is done in modern times – thank you!
And thanks for the blog visit! 🙂
You had me at the Tinkerbell sleeping bag!
I seriously believe that the building, decorating, and dwelling in the Sukkah can help with some of the “tree envy.” Each of us has our own holidays. We can share ours with our non-Jewish friends and we can visit the non-Jewish holidays with them.
The more vibrant and engaging we make our beautiful rituals, the more engaged we will be.
PS — we often strung cranberries for our Sukkah. And were then shocked to discover that it is a common tree decoration.
Sounds just about perfect! My big boy is in that same hyper-aware stage. We are doing our best to explain to him that there is no “right and wrong” but more just different beliefs. We don’t have a sukkah, but will make one tonight in your honor. We so wish you could come and play. The popcorn is fresh, and we always have ours with cocoa. Just saying….