THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS Friday, September 27, 1985
G le n n Tries t, Benya s-Ka u fma n
Ask a pro how to
pick an etrog: he'll
Avrohom Plotnik and Joseph Spitzer unpack their shipment of etrogs.
freshness; it will not require any
special care. The willow and myrtle
should be wrapped in a wet towel
and kept in the refrigerator to keep
from drying out.
Ask a pro about how to pick out
an etrog and he'll wax poetic. Av-
rohom Plotnik at Spitzer's Hebrew
Book Store rattled off the criteria:
"Be sure it's symmetrical. That's
perfection. Be sure it's clean from all
blemishes and thorns. Be sure its
color is nice, a deep yellow, not pale
and not too green. Of course, be sure
the pittam (the special stem on top)
Avrohom assured me that only
the highest quality etrogim will be
on sale; he'll be checking the 1985
Carry your etrog and lulav to
the synagogue on the first two days
of Succot (providing these days don't
fall on Shabbat) and use them dur-
ing the Hoshanot processions. This
year, there will be Hoshanot proc-
essions on Monday and Tuesday.
Children are encouraged to join the
adults circling the sanctuary. They
will enjoy waving the lulav and car-
rying the etrog (carefully, carefully).
Adults chant over and over the same
prayer of supplication, "Save we be-
seech You. For Our sake, our God,
save, we beseech you." For some
adults, the ritual will be quite in-
triguing and startling at first.
During the Succot week, some
families say daily Hallel prayers of
praise and thanksgiving with the
lulav and etrog. Others use them as
By far the most creative uses for
the lulav and etrog come after Suc-
cot is over. The Jewish Catalog of-
fers several suggestions. I've kept
the lulav several years in a row to
use instead of a feather for the
chametz search before Passover. This
use does have its problems. Last
year, we found a two-year-old, moldy
lulav that had slipped behind a book
The etrog makes a terrific
kitchen table centerpiece and science
experience. At first, the children
love to smell and handle it. Then
they delight in watching it shrink
and become shriveled and brown.
Around Thanksgiving, we finally
The succah is the most exciting
Succot symbol and the one destined
to give children lasting memories.
Most area synagogues and the
Jewish Community Center will have
a succah you may visit and decorate.
If you will be having Kiddush after
services in the synagogue succah,
one hint: don't reach over the wine
glasses for a piece of honey cake if
you are still wearing your tallit. One
friend explained this as the reason
for his tallit's purplish coloring!
Those families who build their
own succah will encourage you to try
building your own. It does take time,
effort and an initial investment. But
they all echo Rabbi Nelson, who
says, "How can you enjoy this holi-
day without a succah?"
The requirements for building a
succah are few. It can have four,
three, or two-and-a-half walls. It
should be a temporary structure,
large enough to sit inside, but not so
large as to suggest luxury and per-
branches) should cover the top and
allow the stars to shine through.
(Contact the local Jewish bookstores
for the names of local distributors).
The Council of Orthodox Rabbis,
559-5005, or your own rabbi will ad-
vise you on building a kosher suc-
No two succot are alike; each
succah is as unique and individual
as the family who build it.
Two area families, the Citrons
and the Tisdales, were happy to
share their succah plans. Both re-
present the growing trend toward
succah building among Conservative
and Reform Jews.
David and Janis Citron built
their first succah seven years ago.
"When I was a little girl," Janis ex-
plains, "we had a succah, but not
every year. It was very exciting and
I remember it well. I wanted the
same experience for my children.
Today, both Matthew and Julie will
say Succot is their favorite holiday.
They love it even more than
In designing the succah, David's
considerations were practical. "I
needed something easier to store
than wood and something light-
weight that could be put up by one
person. I wanted to be able to store
my succah in a small box."
The Citrons decided on bright
yellow, washable, rip-stop nylon wall
panels. This material is available in
all colors at fabric stores. Janis
hemmed each panel, put eyelets on
the top and bottom of each panel
and, using clothesline cord, attached
the panels to a top and bottom
The frame is made up of
medium gauge (1/2 - 3/4") water pipes,
cut to a uniform four-foot long.
David puts two together with "kee
The entire frame is anchored on
the sides with tent stakes from the
top of the pole to the ground. One-
by-two-foot wooden slats hold the
schach from blowing off the roof.
The Citron succah sits on the
patio, next to the family room door-
wall. On rainy Succot days, the Cit-
rons sit in the family room and feel
like they are still in the succah.
The children do most of the de-
corating. Julie and Matthew tape up
old nursery school decorations and
string cranberries, cereals and suc-
kers across the succah's top. Visiting
friends know they can pull off a
sucker to take home.
The Citrons love sharing their
succah with family and friends, host-
ing yearly open houses and family
dinners. Janis begins a month before
Succot, baking a variety of cakes
and cookies. "As soon as someone
comes over, I automatically fill up a
tray of food and escort them into the
succah." Cider and carmel apples are
also a Citron succah staple.
David and Yolanda Tisdale had
been decorating the succah at Tem-
ple Israel for years before they de-
cided six years ago to build their
own. Now Succot is a big family
event, a Tisdale outdoor activity, a
way to enjoy fall weather and colors.
Like many first-time builders,
David looked into buying a pre-fab
succah. He found John R. Lumber
very accommodating. (This season
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