This time of year in Jerusalem, Israel, as the temperatures cool down and the Sukkot holiday season begins people come out of their homes, and the streets are filled with new strange sights and sounds.
In the Old City, in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, there were many sukkot.
This large sukkah was at the Kotel, at the back of the Western Wall Plaza, and many more sukkot were visible above.
The festive Birkat Cohanim the holiday Priestly Blessing was scheduled for two days, not just one, to spread out the crowds and limit size and numbers attending this year for Sukkot.
Police and security were in place for the masses, but as you see on Wednesday, there were more security barriers than people at Jaffa Gate.
Inside Jaffa Gate, people went to pass through the Arab Shuk, as it was relatively quiet also.
Dignitaries were positioned to the left and up above the crowd at the Wall.
The whole service was broadcast live and available on YouTube both days.
I have come to Birkat Cohanim before, but certainly, on Wednesday, the scene was not like the usual as in 2012.
There was room for people to move freely, with the special security personnel wearing purple vests checking that everyone had a mask.
For the two minutes of the Birkat Cohanim, most people stood quietly. From this angle, the scene appeared similar to the past. It was so hot in the sun that my camera overheated, so I didn’t get a video.
But I did get a few minutes of the Musaf service to share with you. The choir added a more musical touch and length to the prayer service.
But Sukkot is about the sukkot, those “huts” or “illegal structures” that pop up and around the Jerusalem streets for this holiday week.
This one I had not noticed before and I’m not sure who built it.
I wondered how many others noticed it way up there over the Kotel Plaza?
Look up and you can see sukkot on porches, wooden ones and simple ones,
a sukkah on a Jerusalem porch with a wall of colorful fabric,
or made of wood with flower boxes.
The King David Hotel didn’t have the usual huge sukkah in their parking lot, but it looked like something was on the roof.
The Jerusalem Theater had a sukkah in front near the main entrance.
Some were placed on Jerusalem street corners.
This one was not new, but in a new location, off the new main sidewalk.
The giant sukkah in Kikar Safra was back. Who remembers that it was featured in one of the early RJS posts 11 years ago?
It is big, public, and with special times for the Jerusalem Mayor and his wife to greet the public.
Similar to old times, Mayor Moshe Lion and his wife, stood and posed for photo after photo. New, security checked for a green pass and mask to enter.
Across Jaffa Road from the Jerusalem Municipality is Shushan Street, dressed in new colors for the Sukkot holiday crowds to appreciate.
On Jaffa Road was a Chabad sukkah available for one to stop and make their holiday blessings.
But on the other side of the light rail tracks, Jaffa Road was lined with sukkot from the various food places for their customers to sit and eat.
Thursday evening families crowded around the various entertainers,
performers were every few meters, and other musicians were nearby.
Not sure what this was on Ben Yehudah Street, but it did get my attention.
One of several couples performing – more photos on Facebook – HERE
There were the traditional holiday sights in the Old City.
But this year for the first time there was a neighborhood street festival called The Heroines of the Palmach – for those interested, see more Here
Our sukkah was up and ready, and decorated in time for a photo, and happily withstood the wind and a little light rain.
Though we kept the meals much smaller than usual, it was good to have guests again after last year’s limitations.
We are only partway thru the holiday week, with Hashana Raba and Simhat Torah coming to make this another “short” week ahead. As we ask and try to remember each morning “what day is this”? More holiday events are planned, limited in scope, but at least happening much more than last year.
Shana Tova! In Jerusalem, signs are posted near major Jerusalem parks.
Here’s hoping this will be a healthy and good year for all!