Sukkot / Eliahou Eric Bokobza

Eliahou Eric Bokobza’s piece entitled “Sukkot” evokes thoughts about the nature of permanence and ephemerality in Jewish life.

Resource Ages: 9-11, 12-14

Source

Sukkot / Eliahou Eric Bokobza

Foundations for Planning

Essential Questions

  • How are symbols used in celebrations and holidays?

Background for Teacher

The artist raises the topic of wandering, an essential part of the cultural history of the Jewish people – a people who learned to adapt to its wanderings and acclimate in every place.  He uses the image of the sukkah to express the transience...

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The artist raises the topic of wandering, an essential part of the cultural history of the Jewish people a people who learned to adapt to its wanderings and acclimate in every place.  He uses the image of the sukkah to express the transience of wandering, and reinforces this image with the spaceships upon which the sukkot are built. The mobility of these sukkot highlights their ability to settle on new lands. Moreover, the “sukkot” in this piece appear to be very stable in their resemblance to buildings.

The boy at the bottom of the painting is the artist himself as a child, seemingly watching what is happening from the outside.

Optional Hooks
In-Depth Discussion
Suggested Activities
Further Study

Show the students the painting and ask them to study it for a minute. Afterwards ask them to share in pairs any questions that arose for them, interesting things they noticed in the painting, etc. 

When they are finished, ask them: What does this painting describe?

Click here to view our consolidated list of suggested interactive pedagogies for classroom discussion.

  1. What unusual details are in the sukkot in this painting? 
  2. What do you think the artist wanted to express through these details? 
  3. In your opinion, what do the other details in the painting symbolize: the eyes that pave the ground, the flags, the ocean waves, the child watching?  
  4. What things about the Jewish people today express permanence, and what things express temporariness? (possible directions: different customs, Israel, the place of Jews as citizens in different countries, anti-semitism, connections between Jews and their surroundings, etc).
  5. What do you like and what bothers you in the description of the sukkah as ephemeral? Do you prefer stability or temporariness? Give an example from your lives.
  • Give a title to this painting. Explain your choice in the context of permanence and ephemerality and the content of the painting.
  • Connect this painting to theSukkah and Memory resource, which deals with the historical context of Sukkot. Discuss how the context of remembering the Israelites’ wandering in the desert is reflected in the piece.
  • Show the students this painting after studying the “Permanence and Temporariness” resource. Discuss the representation of permanence and temporariness in this painting, and explain in what ways these sukkot fulfill the definition of “temporary”, according to the description in the Torah and the description of our Sages, and in what ways they don’t.