Sukkot – information for Parents and Children

Five days after Yom Kippur, Sukkot begins. It is a fall harvest holiday which dates back to the time of Moses. While wandering in the desert, the Jewish people built temporary huts. Upon reaching the land of Israel, they became farmers. At harvest time, they built little huts near their crops and lived in them until they finished harvesting. Today Sukkot celebrates the 40 years of wandering as well as the harvest. Many historians believe the American holiday of Thanksgiving is based on the holiday of Sukkot.

Some Jews begin building a sukkah at the conclusion of Yom Kippur. It is a small hut with walls of wood or canvas. The roof of the sukkah is made of leaves and branches placed across wooden slats. The branches should allow sunlight to shine through during the day and the stars to shine through at night.

The inside of the sukkah may be decorated with pictures and Rosh Hashanah greeting cards. Fruits and vegetables are hung from the branch covered ceiling as a reminder that Sukkot is a harvest festival. It is customary to eat meals in the sukkah and also sleep there (if the weather permits) during this holiday celebration that lasts for eight days.

Other symbols of the holiday are the lulav and etrog. The lulav is made of a palm, willow, and myrtle branch and the etrog is a fruit that resembles a lemon. The etrog and the branches of the lulav represent four species of plants. The palm is the emblem of ancient Israel and represents righteousness, the myrtle represents the world to come, the willow is a reminder of life giving water, and the etrog is representative of forbidden fruit.

The four plants can also represent the body. The palm represents the backbone, the myrtle the eyes, the willow the lips, and the etrog the heart.  Each day the lulav and etrog are waved inside the sukkah—north, east, west, south, up, and down—demonstrating that God is everywhere.


Vocabulary/Symbols

  • Sukkah – a temporary hut or shelter with at least three walls and a roof made of leaves and branches that allows the stars to shine through
  • Lulav – palm, willow, and myrtle branches placed together in a holder made of palm leaves
  • Etrog – a yellow lemon-like fruit with a knob at the tip (pittum)

Songs by Sylvia Rouss

DID YOU EVER HANG AN APPLE?
(Sing to Did You Ever See a Lassie)

Did you ever hang an apple,
An apple, an apple?

Did you ever hang an apple,
High in the sukkah?
High in the sukkah,
High in the sukkah,

Did you ever hang an apple,
High in the sukkah?

(for additional verses, let children select other fruits or vegetables)

THIS IS THE WAY WE BUILD A SUKKAH
(Sing to Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush)

This is the way we build a sukkah,
Build a sukkah, build a sukkah.

This is the way we build a sukkah,
As we celebrate Sukkot.

(continue with other verses)

This is the way we put up the walls….
This is the way we place the branches…
This is the way we hang the fruit…
This is the way we smell the etrog…
This is the way we wave the lulav…
This is the way we eat our meal…
This is the way we look at the stars…
This is the way we sleep in the sukkah…

I’LL HANG UP AN APPLE
(Sing to Baby Bumble Bee)

I’ll hang up an apple for all to see.
Won’t my mommy be so proud of me?

I’ll hang up an apple for all to see.
(say: Please pass the string.)

(for additional verses substitute other fruits)

TAKE AN APPLE
(Sing to Frere Jacque)

Take an apple, take an apple,
Tied with string, tied with string.

Hang it up high,
Reach for the sky.

It’s Sukkot. It’s Sukkot.

 


Sukkot Recipes

SUKKOT PUNCH

  • 1 qt. cranapple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Combine all ingredients. Chill one hour. Skim surface. Garnish with orange slices. Serve.

SUKKOT DUMP CAKE

  • 20 oz. can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
  • 20 oz. cherry pie filling
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • ½ lb. margarine

Dump and spread pineapple in 9 X 13 baking pan. Dump cherries on top and spread. Dump cake mix and spread. Slice the margarine and cover top of mixture. Bake one hour in 350 oven. Serve when cool.

 


Sukkot Learning Games

  1. Tactile Identification – Put a fruit or vegetable in a paper bag. Have child feel it and guess what it is.
  2. Identification – Using fruits or vegetables (real , plastic, or illustrations), have child identify each fruit by name.