It’s considered a mitzvah to beautify the sukkah. Traditionally, seasonal fruit and vegetables are displayed in the sukkah to show appreciation for the gifts of nature. This year, when many children have extra time on their hands, making craft fruit and vegetables is a fun and easy activity to do leading up to Sukkot.
To this day, my family still reads almost all of our holiday blessings from an object that either my brothers or I created during our years of Jewish preschool and day school. While not works of art, these items hold so many happy memories of our childhood.
In mid-August, when it became clear that my almost-four-year-old niece would be staying home from preschool indefinitely due to COVID-19, my resourceful sister-in-law asked me if I would be available for entertaining her once a week via Zoom. Knowing that she was missing out on Jewish preschool crafting, I wanted to help her create those memories and keepsakes that she could cherish for years to come. The problem with so many of the projects that I made in school is that they took a lot of prep work and supervision from the teacher. What I needed were activities that a four-year-old could do with minimal help from her working parents and with only verbal instruction from me, on the other end of the iPad screen.
And so paper plates, which are cheap and easy to buy in bulk, came to be the go-to canvas in virtual crafting with Auntie Ruthie. Even better, the round shape fits the religious symbolism of the start of the Jewish new year perfectly!
Using round plates, you can get creative and make all sorts of produce, including apples, tomatoes, watermelon, pumpkin, beets, radishes and so on.
Believed to contain 613 seeds, the same as the number of mitzvot in the Torah, the pomegranate is a beautiful fruit that holds a lot of meaning in Judaism.
Below I’ve included instructions for making a pomegranate paper plate, just like the ones my niece and I made together, but feel free to try them out for any produce you’d like!