The Old Country Casts Its Shadow

Yesterday we finally got around to decorating the Sukkah (although I shouldn’t say “we” as my kids did 99% of the work!). After making tons of paper chains and hanging them up, my number two son rummaged around in our decoration bag, and came out with a string of little lights. When he plugged them in and saw that they worked, he came to me excitedly and wanted to know if he should hang them up.

“No way!” I exclaimed, much to his puzzlement.

I am not sure how they got in there, but I was adamant that the blinking little lights were not going to be in my sukkah. To those of you reared in America, you already know why. They reminded me too much of Xmas decorations.

My kid pleaded with me, and even went to his Abba to ask his opinion. Westbankpapa agreed 100% with me, and the lights were put back in the bag.

I explained to my son the connotation of the lights, but he was still perplexed.

“Why should we let what the non-Jews do dictate how we decorate our sukkah?” he asked. I couldn’t really give him a satisfactory explanation, and in the end did what parents always do – I told him that when he gets married and has his own house, he can decide what to put in the sukkah. For now the parents have the last word.

On a happier note, another preparation for the holiday is stocking up on good things to munch on. We went to our favorite “pitzuchim” (Israeli slang for nuts and seeds that you need to crack open to eat – like sunflower and pumpkin seeds) store in Bnei Brak. We usually don’t brave the traffic to go shopping there, but the goodies at Pitzuchei Afula are too good to pass up. Just the heavenly smell in the store is worth the trip!

My personal favorite is the candied pineapple (and yes, after the sixth Harry Potter book came out my kids ribbed me about it!), although the dry roasted cashews are a close second.

My kids of course insisted on the sunflower seeds, in addition to the pistachios. Westbankpapa prefers the pumpkin seeds and walnuts and almonds in the shell.

We also made sure to buy some candied ginger, right in time to get ready for the cold season. (Some believe that ginger boosts the immune system).

I hope that you are enjoying your holiday as much as we are….

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rickismom
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 22:17:13

    We do not use lights for the same reason.

    You must really life the gareinim of “Afula” store to brave the erev yontif traffic of Bnai Brak! I did my shopping by foot on Sunday, fiqured it would be MUCH faster than by bus!

  2. Rickismom
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 22:18:43

    PS Thanks for adding me to your blog roll.

  3. A Soldier's Mother
    Oct 14, 2008 @ 22:59:17

    it’s really funny – I gave my middle son 100 NIS and told him to go to the front of the city (Maale Adumim) and buy some new decorations. Ours were getting old – the younger kids had made some chains, but I wanted something new. He did pretty well – except he came home with the colored lights. I had the same reaction…as did he. “They don’t mean that here,” he said and in the end I decided to let him put them up. It still strikes a funny note inside to see the lights, but I think they are right – it is time to leave the old country behind and here, they simply meant light and color in the sukkah. Still not sure I like it, but I loved the other things he bought and the enthusiasm with which they decorated the sukkah so … at least till they overhea themselves…there they go.


  4. Mrs. S.
    Oct 15, 2008 @ 16:20:58

    I love it that my kids only associate those lights with succah decorations and that they’re completely unaware that those lights have other connotations elsewhere.

    Moadim L’Simchah.

  5. tnspr569
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 01:03:00

    So…what exactly does candied ginger taste like? I’m hesitant to buy a whole package of the stuff without a clue as to how it tastes…. 😛

  6. Batya
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 04:31:52

    Some Russian olim who were “bnai bayit” by us once gave us lights. I let them put them up, but they were never seen again.

    My daughter says that the candied ginger reduces her milk supply. OK, so more for me.

  7. aliyah06
    Oct 16, 2008 @ 16:59:03

    I get a decided chuckle out of seeing sukkot decorated with fairy lights (never the red/green mix) since my son associates them ONLY with Sukkot . Why should we not have a beautiful sukkah simply because other people use similar lights for their holidays? You wouldn’t NOT light a menorah candle (ok, we use oil, but you get my point) because candles are used in churches, would you?

  8. westbankmama
    Oct 18, 2008 @ 17:04:46

    Riki- I’m glad I’m not the only one!

    Paula – that really is a coincidence!

    Mrs. S.- my kids don’t know a lot of things about America, thank G-d

    tnspr – at first the candied ginger is sweet, then it has a “bite”, but a pleasant one

    Batya – I never heard that about candied ginger…

    aliyah06 – there is a big difference between candles and those blinking lights!

  9. Ben-Yehudah
    Oct 19, 2008 @ 09:46:12


    In Geulah, I found lights that actually said “Luces Feliz Navidades.” Pretty out there, huh? Near Kikkar Shabbos, there is a wide variety of lights to choose from in different shapes, like fruit.

    I like those kinds lights cuz they’re tacky. ;-}

  10. Rickismom
    Oct 22, 2008 @ 07:05:53

    By the way, I put a link to here in my succot ABC post

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