Monday, September 24, 2007

The Jewish X-mas Tree?

Tomorrow we're having our first-ever Sukkah-decorating party. Somehow, with kids around, it seems important to milk this holiday for all the fun it can give.

So far, the sukkah itself is unassembled (but requires no nails, screws, or anything - just needs to be slotted into place). I've got 3 sheets for sides, outdoor twinkly lights, markers for coloring in pieces of fabric to be hung inside (and to color in a design I will draw on one of the sheets), bells, ribbons to hang the bells from, and some beads. We will harvest the skakh from around the yard. (heh heh, sneaky me - sure, come to a party, trim our shrubbery.)

The bells, in particular, are essential. They must reach down below 3 feet, and be securely fastened, so that the one-year-olds will have something safe and entertaining to occupy themselves with. Since I'm sure they will get lots of shaking, they've been chosen individually for their musical sounds.

Now comes the question:
I have inherited some things from my (Swedish Lutheran) grandparents, including some Jul Bokke (little straw goats on strings - literally, "Yule Goats"), which I have always used to decorate our sukkah. These things are traditionally hung on a Swedish X-mas tree, but I like the connection to straw (harvest-time) and goats (the Akeidah/Yom Kippur) they evoke.

I ALSO have inherited a little felt mobile made by my grandmother which she always hung up at X-mas, showing 3 kings - the kings from the Nativity story, Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar. They've been living in a paper bag for several years, now, since they have great sentimental value, but no practical use in a Jewish house.

Would it be too weird to re-frame them as Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, and hang them in the sukkah as we invite in ushpizin? I'd like to keep passing them down to my children, but they'd need a relevant meaning.

Plus, it would give me the opportunity to make some more little felt figures of my own for the foremothers, over the winter. Which would be fun.


Anonymous balabusta in blue jeans said...

I personally think that using family Christmas decorations as Sukkah decorations sounds perfectly fine to me, and much nicer than never using them again just because the family is now Jewish.

I have a vague feeling that I would feel differently if my own descendents decided to use my Judaica as Christmas decorations, but I am ignoring that part.

If you do make the ushpizot, will you post pictures, and directions so I can make some?

10/13/2007 3:17 PM  

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