Jerusalem Selihot and More

For this Jewish High Holiday season, there is no place like Jerusalem, Israel.

Thousands of people converge from around the world at the Kotel, Western Wall, this photo of those gathered after midnight for the late-night Selihot.

For the past weeks, the sounds of Selihot have filled the Jerusalem streets.

Wednesday night after Rosh Hashana at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, President Isaac Herzog spoke prior to the musical Selihot.

The chairs were set in the back garden next to the Beit Hanasi Beit Knesset, the Synagogue in the corner of the President’s residence grounds.

The music was beautiful and well done, and broadcast live on the President’s Facebook page, plus social media posts in English and Hebrew.

For the more traditional part of the evening, a chazan was at the podium.

Rav Benny Lau and his 929 Bible Study organization organized the event hosted by the President and went into the synagogue to open the ark.

The audience included the 929 participants, the regular morning minyan members, IDF soldiers, plus student groups.

The chazan had a powerful voice and passionate delivery.

I had to share a few minutes with a bit of the beautiful sounds.

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When circling the grounds to stay out of the video cameras to get a close-up,

I had time to stop and noticed this stone and sign,

along with the new dramatic blue lighting placed in the garden.

The basalt lintel (4-7 CE) found in Tiberias with relief of menorah, shofar, lulav, and etrog – perfect for this week between the shofar of Rosh Hashana and holiday of Sukkot.

The Herzogs seem to enjoy staying around at the end of events

and posing for photographs. Want more Selihot photos? HERE

The musical Selihot has grown and changed since President Rivlin had Yisrael Meir at Beit Hanasi 7 years ago.

Now there are special Selihot, by women for women.

At the Tower of David, a musical Selihot event filled the outdoor seating.

And the Sultan’s Pool huge stage had a long list of singers for a major musical Selihot also on Thursday night.

And more this week with an evening at Kikar Safra, on October 3, 2022.

Sounds of landscaping power tools needed video, cleaning the overgrowth from shemita. Jerusalem is to plant 340,000 flowers and 10,000 trees.

Sukkot have been popping up already for the Sukkot holiday which starts on Sunday night October 9, 2022.

Colorful lights are on and flashing over the Jerusalem streets.

The Kite Festival is back at the Israel Museum on October 11.

On October 13, the public is invited to the annual President’s Open Sukkah at Beit Hanasi. The Jerusalem Parade is back again at Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, and family events are planned for the day before the 4:00 pm start time of the walking participants.

So much is happening on the Jerusalem streets to start the New Year.

Bonus – major tourist venues announced free admission for children.

Hope to see you here enjoying the holiday season.

Sounds of Selihot fill Jerusalem Streets

This past week was a very busy one for most everyone, with annual fall events returning and new ones planned after two too quiet years.

While driving north we admired the beauty of the land of Israel.

At times it was hard to distinguish between the blue of the sky and the sea.

In the land of milk and honey, natural beauty abounds.

We learned about honey for the Rosh Hashana holiday

and also about bees at Neshikha in Kfar Hananya.

After we returned to Jerusalem, I made time to get to Takhana Rishona, First Station, on Thursday night,

where Silo, located off the parking lot, was hosting an event.

The Woodstock Revival crowd seemed pleased with the music.

Now hoping the crowds come back for the September 29th Ethiopian-Israel Festival for families that start at 4:30 pm.

However, this week’s highlight in Jerusalem was the annual Selihot service, very late at night after Shabbat.

Remembering back in 2015, Ohel Nechama Synagogue was so crowded with Yitzhak Meir leading a musical Selihot that I could not enter.

The Jerusalem Great Synagogue was where I ended up that year before going to the Old City for a memorable night of beautiful and inspirational music that filled the Jerusalem streets.

Thousands were back at the Great Synagogue this year, after two years of being closed for corona, for Selihot 5782, with an impressive choir and amazing acoustics.

I featured the impressive sound of the Great Synagogue with a series of short clips of other places I visited.

It was hard to leave, but the biggest show in town was still to come.

Deputy Mayor Arieh King introduced the Jerusalem municipality’s Selihot held in the large auditorium of the Jerusalem International Conference Center.

Idit Silman was one of several politicians running for the next Knesset at Jerusalem Selihot but she did not go after the media attention as did others.

Yitzhak Meir was the star attraction, drawing thousands, with those without tickets disappointed and frustrated outside the building trying to gain entry.

Meir was on stage accompanied by a group of musicians. His beard was longer and his tallis bigger than it was the past.

In 2015, then-President Reuven Rivlin had Yitzhak Meir lead the Selihot in the President’s Synagogue on the Beit Hanasi grounds.

Sephardi Jews started saying Selihot at the beginning of the month of Elul, and continue every morning for the entire month prior to Rosh Hashana. The first night of Ashkenasi Selihot began after Shabbat, with some in Jerusalem starting as early as 10:00 pm. Selihot with Yitzchak Meir began at 12:30 am.

The full 2 hours of Yitzhak Meir is available on YouTube HERE

Nights of public Selihot continue until Yom Kippur, one at Kikar Safra.

Selihot are held not only at synagogues but even at Jerusalem community parks.

As I walked home, one group was just finishing and more sessions are scheduled at the public park space near the major intersection.

The sounds of Selihot and music filled the Jerusalem streets.

Happy New Year! Chag Sameach!