Thursday, October 6, 2011

A 19th Century Jewish Family in Fischach, Germany Turned Their Sukkah Into A Family Heirloom

It's not easy to find an outstanding Sukkot custom, but when I saw this photo I remembered a wonderful Sukkah exhibition held several years ago at Jerusalem's Israel Museum. While there was something unusual about each Sukkah, one stood out among all the rest. It was made of wood planks, with the outside looking similar to the Sukkah in this photo. The inside was an entirely different matter. It was literally a work of art. The Sukkah's original owners -- Naftali and Zili Deller -- commissioned a local artist to paint the inside walls of their Sukkah with scenes of Jerusalem, the Western Wall and images of the Fishach village (their home town) from that time. Have a look. It's something else!

In essence, Mr. and Mrs. Deller -- who lived in the second part of the 19th century -- commissioned a combination of an unusual piece of Judaica and an unforgettable family heirloom. It was handed down to their son Abraham, who along with his wife Sofie, put it up in the courtyard of their home every year. That is until the Nazis came to power. In 1937 Abraham and Sofie smuggled the Sukkah out of Germany to the Bezalel Museum in Jerusalem (forerunner of today's Israel Museum) by converting the boards into shipping crates, with the painted sides used as the interior crate walls.

What a brilliant way to save a legacy! This Sukkot think about how you, your family and your students can create Sukkah memorabilia that can be handed down from one generation to the next. I'll get you started. What kind of craft has lasting potential? How about paper mache. Look at what I found!

Enjoy putting up your Sukkah.

Photo Credit

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