By J. Kott-Wolle
Oil on Canvas, 16x20, painted 2019
Original photograph taken - 1972
Sukkot (The Festival of Booths) was my favorite Jewish holiday as a young child and it remains so today. My friends and their families have grown to count on our annual Sukkah Party where we curl up under blankets, drink wine, eat soup and enjoy the crisp fall air in my back yard sukkah. I connect to my late father every year when I build it because that was ‘our thing’. It’s a gorgeous holiday.
But oh did I hate it during that short miserable time called middle school! Our house was perched high up on a hill overlooking the ravine where all the neighborhood kids crossed to get to St. Andrew’s Junior High School. Our rickety sukkah was on display for all to see and I thought it was so embarrassing. We lived in a leafy suburb of Toronto with a sizeable Jewish population but a sukkah was “too Jewish” for my too cool teenaged self. It was more than enough that I had to keep kosher and miss sleepovers because of Hebrew school or Friday night dinners. Couldn’t we be ‘normal Jewish’?
As I matured I came back to the conclusion that it was a fun holiday and I knew I met the right guy for me when my now husband was so excited to have dinner in our family sukkah early in our courtship. When Parkinson’s disease took over my father’s health we sadly had to stop building it. I am so glad that I have priceless photos of my children as babies sitting on my lap in the expanded and elaborate sukkah that my dad built.