In October, I had the privilege of working with Kol Ami’s fabulous sixth grade class during their Sukkot festival. The class spoke about refugees and the holiday of Sukkot in the weeks leading up to the program. Then, on the day of the festival, they broke into groups of two or three and each group was given a Jewish text related to Sukkot, refugees, or homelessness. The students sat down to talk about those texts and what message they wanted to share through their art pieces.
The groups then took the ideas and feelings from their text study and turned them into fabric art that would be used on the walls of our sukkah frame.
Once the groups were happy with what they had made, they stood up in front of the rest of the grade and explained what their art piece represented.
W hen everyone had a chance to share their pieces, we hung them on the sukkah frame to start creating the walls of our sukkah.
Below are a few examples of the students’ art, emphasizing the voyage from the familiar to a strange new place and the mix of emotions that comes with such a move.
After Sukkot, I took their artwork home and started to turn it into a wall hanging. First, I secured the students’ work with a clear zig-zag stitch and hand stitched the beads that had been attached with glue.
Next, I tried two different layouts to see which would work best for the piece. The Religious School Director thought the horizontal layout would work better for their space so I selected a dark blue fabric for the sashing and border and started sewing them together.
Once the whole piece was done, it was hung in the hallway at the synagogue so everyone visiting can see the thoughtful work created by their students.