Look at Sukkot in Jerusalem

The best time to be in Jerusalem, Israel, is for the Sukkot holiday.

The sounds of Selihot and Yom Kippur prayers leave the Jerusalem streets. Then the Jerusalem streets fill with tourists. Too many drivers do not know which way to turn, excited to be for the first time, or back again to look and see the changes since their last trip.

For those of you not able to look for yourselves, here is a bit from the beginning of Sukkot 5784.

Look up and count the number of porches with a sukkah.

Look how volunteers made sure lone soldiers had a sukkah in Jerusalem, Israel at the Michael Levin Base.

Look closely to get the perfect etrog and lulav, here at the Arba Minnim Market off of Jaffa Road.

You did not have to look far for your Arba Minnim, right after Yom Kippur the stands pop up everywhere.

Look who we found at Machane Yehudah Market, walking in the shuk – the amazing singer Shulem Lemmer. Tens of thousands of visitors have arrived for the holiday, it’s fun to see who is on the Jerusalem streets.

Look out for those new heavy ad boards being installed at new tower construction sites.

An annual fun photo is the kosher Pizza Hut hut ready for the Sukkot holiday.

Look how along Jaffa Road, there is one sukkah after another with food to serve to hungry visitors.

Look out for a runaway sukkah! The girls walked by after this sukkah rolled away into me as I walked by.

Take a look at the huge sukkah in Safra Square, which covers an area of 800 square meters and holds up to 650 people. The work on the sukkah began weeks before the holiday, with a team of engineers and designers planning the design, and formulating safety measures, so it should stay in place.

Look how decorations are installed in the largest sukkah where programs are scheduled all day every day of this week during Chol Hamoed Sukkot.

Not only are daytime activities planned, but also at night. At the First Station sukkot line the center of the space filled with people, while smaller sukkot were off restaurants on the side.

The annual Sukkot Street Festival on Derech Beit Lechem was held on Sunday night, October 1, 2023.

A bit of something for everyone, but loved looking at this multi-generational chess setup.

Wondering where else chess games are part of street festivals instead of beer and liquor?

Arts and crafts jewelry and everything from shoes to colorful sukkah decorations lined the street.

Martial arts, music, and activities for children. Lots of children! Look out below, for the little ones walking.

Painting a wall mural was another colorful family activity. One young artist had a special advantage.

At the same time, Rabbi Goldberg of Chabad on King George Street welcomed everyone to his party.

Grand Sukkot Celebration Simchat Beit Hashoeva, featuring Chassidic Rock Superstar Barak Grossberg, had a drum circle and crafts for children, and dancing along with the live music of Chabad of Rechavia.

On the way home the sukkah of Chabad of Talbiya-Mamilla ready for the public to use.

And a look at our modest sukkah at home lit up at night – before the rain started. It was cloudy, cooler, and humid, but the sound of rain was still a surprise.

The cloudy damp weather did not deter the tens of thousands who attended the first of two Birkat Kohanim Priestly Blessings planned for Sukkot this year. Here is one photo published by the Western Wall Heritage Foundation showing part of the crowd this morning.

But there seemed to be more cell phones than Kohanim (those saying the blessing) this year.

The service ended with a call for shalom and unity, and Shema Yisrael.

Another annual popular event is tomorrow at Beit Hanasi, Israel President’s House Open sukkah with a sports theme this year. It’s one of the very few times the public is invited inside the gates.

The signs are up and the Jerusalem streets will fill with tens of thousands on Wednesday for the Jerusalem Marches. Look out for more next week from these busy Jerusalem streets!

Sounds of Selihot for Erev Yom Kippur

Musical Selihot, the late-night prayers before the Jewish New Year Holidays, have become increasingly popular in Jerusalem, Israel.

The Great Synagogue had a televised service mentioned two weeks ago in Getting Ready for New Season and New Year.

Also broadcast live on social media channels was the Selihot from the Synagogue at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence on Tuesday night. Rav Benny Lau’s Bible study program 929 again coordinated with President Isaac Herzog’s staff to combine Ashkenazi and Sefardi tunes in one program.

The Yagel Harousch Ensemble was so impressive, here is a longer version, 20 minutes of music for Erev Yom Kippur. Photos are HERE.

Over 2 million people participated in Selihot at the Kotel, Western Wall during the month of Elul and the Ten Days of Repentance. The Kotel had Selihot for 18 nights this year to try and accommodate the people who wanted to come to Jerusalem for the special prayers.

At midnight Erev Yom Kippur, at the Kotel beginning with Hatarat Nedarim, the annulment of vows, followed by the recitation of the traditional Selihot led by Cantor Moshe Havusha, with Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, and also the Chief Rabbis of Israel. Tens of thousands more filled the entire Plaza area and Old City, plus thousands more watched the live broadcast.

Driving in some areas of Jerusalem, such as near the Kotel is impossible on these nights, and difficult on a good day. It’s amazing to see the crowds returning to the Jerusalem streets.

Of course, more was happening this week with seven new Ambassadors presenting their credentials and the holiday season of Sukkot preparations beginning as soon as Yom Kippur ends.

I decided to keep this short on this short day, and wish all a Gmar Hatima Tova,

May you be sealed for a good and healthy year and enjoy the music.

Next year in Jerusalem!