Encompassing Sukkot


Encompassing Sukkot—Collected Memories

This 3-D collage-in-a-box concept is homage to the artist Joseph Cornell who single-handedly created this quirky
art form in the 1930’s through 1950’s.

This is a collection of Sukkot memories which have been reinterpreted in a three-dimensional format—sometimes literally, sometimes evocatively. Each memory has a distinct space of its own, but bound together they form a collage of memories. And each memory has an author who is acknowledged in a booklet attached to the panel. This crib-sheet is for those who may want help understanding the images.

The viewer is an active participant. Can these varied memories encompassed within a frame bring visions of the harvest holiday Sukkot to mind? Does it matter or detract from the experience if a few images are unusual or unfamiliar? And what of the viewers who have no memories of this holiday—can they make something of this collage of images that is all their own?

All sailors are taught to “box the compass.” They must be able to name and locate 32 points on the compass. On Sukkot, Jews shake the palm branches (lulav) in six directions (a symbol of God presence everywhere) and they need to know where east is in order to direct their prayers toward Jerusalem. Therefore, a working compass is included to help orient the viewer and to “Encompass Sukkot.”

One unforgettable year we created a moveable feast walking to all our friends’ sukkahs. We started with Mimosas, bagels and lox in the first sukkah and ended with Martinis and hors d’oeuvres in the last sukkah.
—Ethel Marcus, Waterbury, Connecticut

Praying Mantis
The most notable guest we ever had in our sukkah was a praying mantis. The children called it the “davening bug.”
—Cheryl Rosenbaum, West Hartford, Connecticut

Boxing the Compass
All sailors are taught to “box the compass.” They must be able to name and locate 32 points on the compass. On Sukkot, Jews shake the lulav in
six directions (a symbol of God’s presence everywhere) and we need to know where east is in order to direct our prayers toward Jerusalem. —Ken Schoen, South Deerfield, Massachusetts

Chair & M-16
During Sukkot of 1984 we moved to Israel. From the airport we took a taxi to Kibbutz Lotan, a very young kibbutz about an hour north of Eilat. We followed for what seemed like forever, an old, single-lane winding, curving road on the side of mountains. We weren’t even sure we were on the right road. No signs, no signs of life, no lights on the road. Finally, we arrived at Lotan — then little more than outpost. The quiet was overwhelming; the stars — incredible. And at this place at the end of the world was a lovely sukkah. The night guards were sitting there preparing salad for breakfast — their M-16’s hung over the backs of their chairs. —Wendy Weiss Simon, Jerusalem, Israel

I had my first sukkah in the 1950’s in California. We hung real fruit and all the New Year’s cards we received that year.
—Sally Moses, San Antonio, Texas

When I was a small boy in Poland, we had precious little with which to decorate our sukkah. One year, my mother handed me a bunch of old keys and helped me to make a garland. I wish I knew where it disappeared to.
— Eliezer Plotkin, Manchester, England

Each child brought pictures and cut out paper fruits, as well as paper chains to help us decorate.
—Susan Dubin, Northridge, CA

We had a “sukkah cat” in both Westfield and Fairfield. It was a neighborhood cat who only came by during Sukkot to dwell in our sukkah.
—Rose Myers, Fairfield, Connecticut

Wooden Sukkah
After seeing the late 19th-century wooden sukkah (Fischach, southern Germany) at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, I wanted to build my very own wooden sukkah. We built three sides; the fourth wall was a set of double doors. My daughters and I painted everything in hues of blue. Every time we moved we had to leave a wall behind because they were so heavy. Now we only have the main central panel and every year we touch up the paint damaged by the elements.


—Jane Trigère, South Deerfield, Massachusetts

Photography by Penny Leveritt

Copyright © 2007, 2009 Jane Trigère. All right reserved.