In addition to being the title of an adorable Israeli film, the ushpizin are the Biblical figures who are the symbolic guests in your sukkah; there’s one for each night of the holiday. And surprise, surprise, they’re all male. So, for the past several years, there have been attempts to add great female figures, Biblical or historic, into the fray. The ushpizot, if you will.
(Jewcy even once threw our hat into the feminist Sukkot ring with the Ushpizienne, a list of female Jewish comedians who would obviously make any holiday party amazing. It’s not the most intellectual of responses, but who wouldn’t want Ilana Glazer in their sukkah?)
Anyway, since it’s traditional to decorate your sukkah with representations of your metaphorical guests, there have been some gorgeous designs of these ushpizot, some of which you can purchase for your own weird Jewish booth thing. Let’s look at just a few gorgeous choices, each in a very different visual style:
- Dov Abramson’s Ushpizot: “Make Room in Your Sukkah”Abramson is an Israeli artist who sells his designs on Etsy. His ushpizot series comes as posters or party banners (cute!), and he covers his bases, using both Biblical and historical figures. His illustrative portraits of the women are fun, but still definitely respectful. Plus, why stop at 7 female figures when you can have over two dozen? Eve! Miriam! The daughters of Zelophehad! Nechama Leibowitz! Ofra Haza! The hits just keep on coming!
- Ma’yan’s Prophets
Ma’yan is a Jewish feminist organization that went with seven women regarded as prophets: Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Avigail, Huldah, and Esther. It uses collages with evocative imagery to share the stories of these prophetesses. You can order a poster (designed by Ellen Alt) here.
- Ma’yan’s Prophets
- JOFA’s educators
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance actually ran a Kickstarter campaign to fund their poster, back in 2014. They chose no Biblical figures, and actually went with women a bit more obscure to the layperson— prominent female Jewish scholars and educators (each portrayed by a different artist). So if you want to learn about Flora Sassoon, this might be the poster for you, and if you already know her life’s work, this is definitely the poster for you.
Or, you could get all three of these! Listen, it may be too late to get these in time for the holiday (especially if you’re not in Israel and interested in Abramson’s work), but you may be able to make it work, or at least use these pieces of art as inspiration for your own feminist sukkah.
And of course, tweet us with pictures of your own feminist sukkah art. Especially if you went the ushpizienne route.