It’s that time of year again.
Rosh Chodesh Kislev when the new flavor donuts appear.
What’s your favorite?
The fall holiday season in Jerusalem, Israel, has come to a close.
Monday night, the Jerusalem streets from First Station to the Kotel, Western Wall, to the Gur Hassidic Center, and dozens of other locations were filled with live music and tens of thousands dancing with Torahs for Hakafot Shniot.
Tourists prepared to go back to their homes, as Jerusalem fall flowers were in full bloom.
In the first year of Reuven Rivlin’s presidency, there was no line on the street outside of Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence, for the annual Sukkah Open House.
This year 8,000 people came. For many, it was their first time inside the usually closed gates.
The theme in the President’s public sukkah was Israeli grapes.
Barrels of wine were in the sukkah this year, but no samples were offered. Artificial grapes hung from the top of the sukkah. A large wheelbarrow outside the sukkah was filled with a variety of grapes that were consumed before I thought to take a photo.
MK Zeev and Maria Elkin were at Beit Hanasi early for the intermediary days of Sukkot event.
Activities for children included making a Bar Kochba coin sponsored by the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem.
When President Rivlin made an appearance, he was surrounded by media.
Crowds were both outside and inside the main hall,
in the big sukkah,
and outside on the back lawn.
Crowds. Crowd control. Closed streets. All have becomes constants of Jerusalem holiday seasons.
Even late at night, tens of thousands of visitors walking to and from the Old City is a common Sukkot sight.
Families dressed in their best holiday clothing, day or night, head toward Jaffa Gate.
The Western Wall Heritage Foundation announced that 2.5 million people visited the Kotel, Western Wall during the month.
Perhaps not the best, but surely the biggest etrog I saw, was the size of the man’s head.
The huge sukkah in Kikar Safra, Municipal Plaza, welcomed the public.
Free, live musical concerts attracted crowds to Kikar Safra on several nights.
The list of free and fundraising concerts and events in Jerusalem was long and diverse.
Day and night the sukkot lining the light rail tracks on Jaffa Road welcomed the tired and hungry .
One Jerusalem festival was set for holiday visitors.
The 11th Manofim Jerusalem Contemporary Art Festival opens soon,
followed in November by the Oud Festival for the 20th year.
The 4th Jerusalem Biennale which opened October 10 goes through November.
There are 14 locations, 200 artists and 500 works in this Jerusalem contemporary art event.
So I will end with another view of Rabbi Yitzchok Moully’s sukkah constructed of reflective plexiglass exterior panels at Heichal Shlomo.
So many photos from Jerusalem Biennale, it needs a post of its own. Coming soon.
So much happened over Sukkot holidays, so much more happening on Jerusalem streets.
Ten years ago, the first RJS blog was published on Sukkot – Holiday Crowds in Jerusalem.
The holiday season crowds in Jerusalem, Israel, have arrived again.
The first day of the holiday was a beautiful day, but the next day there was a sound and and light show the likes of I have never seen in Jerusalem.
Thunder and lightning went on and on, long enough to finally get a good video on the 7th attempt.
The late President Shimon Peres hosted the Beit Hanasi open houses back in the early days of RJS.
This year President Reuven Rivlin invited children into his sukkah to help him decorate.
The Presidential Cat was in the garden to supervise.
Children were busy making decorations and paper chains.
As Sukkot holiday approaches in Jerusalem,
Sukkot are popping out on porches,
on a low balcony,
or on stilts to support the sukkah as it extends off the porch.
Restaurants need a large sukkah to accommodate holiday crowds.
The sukkot in the above photos have bamboo mats used on top as s’chach.
This is the time of year in Jerusalem to trim the palm trees, so that the large branches can be put on top of the sukkah.
Searching for the perfect species in the main market near Machane Yehuda is an annual sight.
In Jerusalem, also, popup shops for lulav and etrog were easy to find.
Tens of thousands gathered at the Kotel, the Western Wall, for Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing which was broadcast live.
These were the usual sights throughout Jerusalem, Israel this week.
But I will end with ‘not your average sukkah’ –
While nothing has been quite like this sukkah on a camel from years ago,
here is another unique sukkah, outside of Heichal Shlomo on King George Street.
As part of the Jerusalem Biennale, is this ‘reflective sukkah’. The outside walls work as distorted mirrors. Look closely, see if you can find me in the photo?
The plaza in front of the Great Synagogue is in the background.
I hope this last photograph does not make you dizzy.
This week of Sukkot holiday meals and the overwhelming number of events did make me dizzy.
So much happening on the Jerusalem streets on Sukkot!
And you never know what will happen next.
Thunder and lightning on Monday night and again on Tuesday afternoon!
When they say something moves as fast as lightning, yes, it moves fast and is hard to capture.
Many sukkot were blown down in the stormy weather.
I am now more satisfied to share this year’s modest decorations.
Happy that our sukkah is still standing!