Sukkot is a Jewish harvest festival that begins just after the start of the new Jewish year. In preparation for Sukkot Jews build a sukkah (a temporary hut) which we decorate, eat in and sometimes sleep in for the whole week of Sukkot.
As with all our festivals we have some great picture books to share that we have been reading to help us understand and celebrate.
Is it Sukkot Yet? by Chris Barash, illustrated by Alessandro Psacharopulo and published by Albert Whitman & Company.
Another edition to this beautiful series of books, Is It Sukkot Yet? follows two children as they prepare for the festival and look for the signs that it is due to start soon. Starting with spotting the sights of autumn the children begin to help their family build and decorate the sukkah before starting the festivities.
Repetition creates a gentle rhythm throughout the book coupled with soft illustrations in gorgeous autumnal colours. A perfect book to read during autumn as well as a great starting point to learn more about Sukkot.
We received a copy of this book from the wonderful PJ Library who provide free books about Judaism to children.
Buy Is It Sukkot Yet from Wordery.
Sukkot activity – Finger paint autumn trees
Sukkot is an autumn festival and a perfect excuse for some autumnal crafts. It’s a great time to go for walks and collect natural decorations for our sukkah or even just to notice the changes that are happening. On our autumn walks we talked a lot about the different coloured leaves we could see so we decided to paint our own autumn tree pictures.
This was a really simple activity and very easy to set up. Start with a tree with bare branches on some paper, I drew ours and painted them brown, then set up pots of different colour paints for all the colours you have spotted outside and start printing! As well as using our fingers we found other items that would make good marks for leaves like corks, cotton buds and small paint brushes. My eldest even had a go at painting his own tree before decorating with the leaves. These will look beautiful hanging up in our sukkah.
The Little Esrog by Rochelle Kochin, illustrated by Janice Hechter and published by Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch.
During Sukkot we hold four species together and recite special prayers. One of these species is a citrus fruit called an etrog. In this story Rabbi Zalman is preparing a crate of etrogim to be sent to a nearby village. One etrog is much smaller than the rest but the Rabbi declares it is still kosher for the Sukkot rituals so joins the rest on their journey. The little etrog is picked on by the others and starts to worry that it won’t be chosen to be part of Sukkot.
As the box of etrogim start their journey snow begins to fall and the delivery driver makes a well intentioned mistake with the fruits. Luckily the little etrog had been hidden amongst the packaging so is the only one to arrive intact and can fulfill the rituals for everyone in the village.
Illustrated with delicate details this is a touching story about a humble little etrog and the traditions of Sukkot.
Many thanks to illustrator Janice Hechter for sending a copy of this book for review.
Buy The Little Esrog from Wordery.
Sukkot activity – Lolly stick Star of David decorations
There really is no limit to how many decorations you can have in a sukkah, so I’d say go for as many as your space allows! Here’s another craft we enjoyed making with lolly sticks – hanging Star of David decorations.
Glue lolly sticks together at their ends to make triangles then lay them over each other with one upside down and glue to create the star. Next decorate with whatever you like, we chose sparkles and sequins. Wait for the glue to dry before threading some string through two opposite points and hang up. We also added an empty yogurt pot for a bit of weight at the bottom.
Lastly, here’s a song we enjoy about Sukkot by The Fountainheads.
Enjoy Sukkot and Chag Sameach!
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