Monday, September 20, 2010

A couple of you have asked what a sukkah is. It is a temporary structure jews put up in the yard this time of year - a harvest festival tradition after Yom Kippur. The sukkoh is built with three walls and the roof is slatted so you can see the stars. You eat in it for eight days, inviting friends and neighbors in, a time of hospitality and openness. Many sleep in ther sukkot and we hope to this year at least once. You decorate with fruits, vegetables, leaves, and children's crafts. It is the closest thing Jews get to a Christmas tree in terms of decorating, and Liam is already having fun making decorations. This is the first year we have made our own sukkoh, thanks of course to Ruth and Chris. It isn't finished yet (busy and rainy day) but it will be very cool. I'll send pictures, or at least link to them on the ThreGeneration blog.

It was a good experience to help in Bob's class today. The refugee children have only been here four months and are pretty lost, but learning fast. It's hard to stick teaching math when they don't know what the words in the problems are discribing - whether it's "cyllinder" or "gerbil". I did alot of drawing and it seemed helpful. I like them both and I think they like me. Before I went I really had performance anxiety and understood for the first time why someone might just back off from a volunteer experience out of trepidation. I kept thinking it would be easier to stay home and help KK with her homework. It is easier to help her, and I did that too, but I'm hooked on Bob's class now. The rest of the class, American poor kids, is a crazy mix of understanding and pain, rowdiness and curiosity, excessive jewelry and sweet smiles. I am intrigued by a number of them and also did a good job of staying in a supportive role and not putting my agendas on Bob's class. I hope to help out every Monday afternoon.


Mary said...

Thank you for explaining what a sukkoh is. I had never heard of a sukkoh before. Will you take the sukkah down, or will it remain up? I wonder what people who live in colder climates do. In some areas at this time of year it would be hard to eat / sleep outside. I hope you will put pictures in this blog.

I am sure you will do well with the refugee children. They WILL learn fast, I think, as they are young and motivated. I think when you work with someone who does not speak your language you have to be prepared to laugh a lot.

I would like to help in a class too, I know. Maybe sometime again I will. Enjoy.

Diane T. said...

It is so nice to read of all you and Bob and Ruth and Chris are doing. You seem so happy and involved in live. It is nice to read that Liam is having fun making decorations too. What a lucky little boy he is growing up with so many people who love him.

Victoria said...

Mary, thanks for asking more about the sukkah. Part of the point is that it is temporary as life is temporary - another autumn symbol of attending to life joyfully now in the presence of mortality, so yes, we will take it down and store it as a kit for next year. I think in colder areas people are less likely to sleep outside. That is just something that can be fun to do. I know new Youk Jews do build sukkot, sometimes on the roofs in the city. Maybe people just eat a bite if the weather is really cold. Sometimes here it is very rainy during Sukkoth and that makes it less fun. This year it is somewhat rainy going in, but we should have some clear evenings. Thanks for asking. And your reminder about laughing with the refugee children is good. They both do laugh. I forget about the power of laughter.

Judy Roney said...

You have so many wonderful customs and celebrations in the jewish faith. This sounds like such a fun thing to do for the whole family and all the fun things have life enhancing meanings to them.

I'm glad you are "hooked" one Bob's class now. I know you are such a good help. You do so much for so many. That has to be gratifying. I would not be a good teacher. I am never patient enough. I think you would be (and are) an excellent one.