The ProsenPeople

In the Sukkot Market

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 | Permalink

In this special installment of the Jewish Book Council/MyJewishLearning Visiting Scribe series, we spotlight book illustrator and visual artist Eliyahu Alpern.

Eliyahu Alpern is an amazing photographer. With author Allison Ofanansky, he’s done two children’s books that put distinctly different spins on Jewish holidays: In Harvest of Light, they walk through the process of making olive oil from tree to bottle. And, in Sukkot Treasure Hunt, a family tracks down all four species growing in the hills of rural Israel to use for their lulav and etrog.

We asked Eliyahu to take his camera on a stroll through Safed, Israel, where he lives. What he found was a menagerie that would put the sukkah scenes in Ushpizin to shame — and, if you’ve seen Ushpizin, that’s saying a lot.

Here he walks us through the sukkah market in Safed, showing us the detail and agony with which some people pick out their own lulavim and etrogim, and the other tools for celebrating Sukkot, too — from bamboo mats to sukkah decorations.

Eliyahu Alpern is the photographer of Sukkot Treasure Hunt and Harvest of Light. See his original art, and his blog, at