Sukkot in Jerusalem

Sukkot in Jerusalem

Sukkot 5779 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Tens of thousands of visitors have arrived. Rental cars are booked and fill the streets.

Traffic can back up any time anywhere, especially in Old City when streets are closed.

Kotel for birchat kohanim

Tens of thousands crowd into and around the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza for the annual Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

This year was different with no helicopters circling over Jerusalem during the blessing.

Sukkah building in Jerusalem

The sidewalk along King George Street is filled with sukkot from nearby eateries. Here the frame of one sukkah is being assembled before the holiday.

Jerusalem sukka building

Small signs and locations of places to buy and build a sukka appear all around Jerusalem before the holiday.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah building

These huge signs were hard to miss on the side of the building.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah

A sukka could be found on empty corner spots,

Sukkah on balconies in Jerusalem Israel

on porch balconies on front of apartment buildings,

Jerusalem sukka on back small porches

and tucked away on small porches in back of buildings.

Sign for Sukkot event in Jerusalem Israel

There were too many Sukkot festivals for families to list them all here.

The weather during the day was perfect for parades, musical performances, and more held each day in Jerusalem.

Beit Lecham Street no traffic for street fair Jerusalem Israel

The usually busy Derech Beit Lehem street was cleared of traffic for an evening street festival.

Live music for Jerusalem Israel street fair on Sukkot

These were a few of the musicians rehearsing in the afternoon.

Jerusalem Hotel Orient sukkah on top

There is a sukka on top of the new Orient Hotel.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah built at First Station

Across at First Station, kosher eateries have large sukkot.

First Station Jerusalem Israel WeWork sukkah

But new and different this year, there is a WeWork sukka at First Station.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah in First Station by WeWork

Where else but Jerusalem, will you find, free wifi, beer, coffee, and working spaces, with a lulav and etrog on the table?

Personal sukkah at street level in Jerusalem Israel

From a private home sukka, 

Jerusalem sukkah in park

to a simple sukka in public park,

Sukkah in Inbal Hotel atrium Jerusalem Israel

to a large elaborate sukka, as in the Inbal Hotel atrium– there is no place for Sukkot like Jerusalem.

Sukkah for publis at Beit Hanasi

On Thursday, at Beit Hanasi the President’s Residence will be open to public.

Here is a first peak of the large public sukka.

Check back next time for a full tour of exhibits for this year’s healthy theme.

Or go stand in line, Beit Hanasi is open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Sign in Hebrew for Beit Avi Chai end of Sukkot Hashana Raba

And there is still much more of the holiday to come…and enjoy.

Sukkot holiday greeting of public Jerusalem Israel bus


Moadim l’simcha.

Happy holidays to all.

Yom Kippur in Jerusalem with Avinu Malkeinu

Yom Kippur in Jerusalem with Avinu Malkeinu

Where to go in Jerusalem, Israel for Selihot, special prayers said late at night or early in morning before Yom Kippur, gets to be a bigger problem every year as the number of options goes up.

Tens of thousands as usual gathered at the Kotel, Western WallHowever, true numbers are impossible to calculate, as people were turned away, the area was so crowded.

Hundreds were at First Station for musical Selihot. Even the Israel Museum hosted a special late Thursday night event.

Selichos at Government Square in Jerusalem Israel

From small synagogues, to the huge stage in Kikar Safra, Government Square, the options for Selihot and holiday musical programs seemed endless, religious and secular.

In some locations, weary parents brought their children to school before 6:00 am for special Selihot.

Booklet for Selichot at President House

For the fifth year, President Reuven Rivlin hosted an evening at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Shul of Israel Prescient at Beit Hanasi

The synagogue is located in a corner of the back garden with 12 seats for women in the back of this men’s section.

Garden of Beit Hanasi with young soldiers for selihot

Each year this evening has changed and grown, this year 500 soldiers and post-high school students were invited.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in Beit Hanasi Synagogue

The service in the synagogue was recorded on video,

Screen showing selihot service at Beit Hanasi

and projected onto a large screen outside for all to see.

During selihot man taking video at Beit Hanasi

Some of the guests could not resist using phones for their own videos.

President Rivlin with Moshe Louk and David D'Or at selihot at Beit Hanasi in Jerusalem Israel

The President and singers Moshe Louk and David D’Or came outside.

Young man taking selfie at Beit Hanasi with President Rivlin

At least one young man could not resist taking a selfie with them.

Instead of more photos, I thought better to share short video clips,

of David D’Or

and Moshe Louk songs before Selihot,

and one part of Selihot with traditional reading.

I did not get to the Kotel for the huge Selihot, so sharing this photo taken fro a video tweeted by Ari Fuld z”l.


Kotel selihot 5779 twitter of Ari Fuld

“The Nation has to bring itself to Israel. That takes moral codes, courage and strength… At the end of the day, success or failure is up to HaKadosh Baruch Hu alone.”

These are some of the last words Ari z”l posted on a Facebook video before Shabbat. On Sunday morning, on his way to the supermarket, Ari  was stabbed in the back by a young Arab. Mortally wounded, he chased after, aimed and shot to neutralize the terrorist.

How can we understand a culture where a 16 or 17-year-old could intentionally murder a stranger, a husband, son, brother and father of four, by stabbing him in the back?

Avinu Malkeinu by David D’Or ended the evening at Beit Hanasi.

Our father our king
our king, inscribe us
in the book of good life, in the book of good life.

Even more meaningful after the devastating news of yesterday.

שנה טובה ומתוקה וגמר חתימה טובה

Shana tova ve’mutuka ve’gmar Hatima tova

Wishes for a good sweet year and to be sealed for good year.


Royal and Creative Week in Jerusalem

Royal and Creative Week in Jerusalem

What a week!

Summer has arrived and the hot midday sun is blaring down.

His Royal Highness, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Baron of Strathearn, and Baron Carrickfergus was in Jerusalem.

The first British royal making an official trip to Israel, HRH made a stop at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Reuven Rivlin hosts HRH Prince William Duke of Cambridge at Israeli President Residence

HRH has one very long name, and he appeared very tall when standing next to Israel’s Prime Minister. Sitting next to the President, we can conclude, that besides a long name, Prince William also has long legs.

Guest book of Israel President signed by HRH Prince William in Jerusalem Israel

However, his is a very short signature for such a long name.  This is the message HRH left in the Presidential guest book.  Some guests write long passionate messages, however, the Prince left nothing in writing which could be used for or against him. Facebook photos HERE

The end-of-school-year graduations and performances were too numerous to follow this week. Many families were running from one performance to another stage and then to another end-of-year event, with no end in sight.

However, one event was bigger than a glimpse at a future king or a school musical. Thousands of people came from around Israel to attend a heavily promoted event at the Jerusalem Pais Arena.

Jerusalem Pais Arena in Malha

It was my first time back in the massive building since it opened in 2014. 

Creator Awards We Work food

The halls were filled with food, from meat-filled pita sandwiches to gluten free dinners, plus wine and beer and more, all at no cost to those who registered in advance.

People going to Master Class at We Work Creator Awards

Entrance was free too. One problem was getting to those Master Classes with your hands full of food, which made it difficult to navigate the crowded halls.

Mentalist Lior Suchard at Creator Awards in Jerusalem Israel

Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard performed at the first Master Class to a full audience. Doors were shut when seats were filled.

Selfie at Creator Awards in Jerusalem Israel for WeWork

There must have been tens of thousands of selfies taken by the 5,000 participants.

I think that this was the biggest Israeli networking event held in Jerusalem.

Adam Neumann and Nir Barkat at Jerusalem Arena for Creator Awards

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat with Adam Neumann CEO of WeWork presented the second Master Class.

Small theater at Arena for Creator Awards Master Class

From the top of the theater area for Master Class, you can see size of audience. Look at the  top left and you can see the Arena’s VIP boxes and empty seats. This small theater was created by the black cloth partition you see at the left.

We Work CEO Adam Neumann in Jerusalem Israel for Creator Award

The arena can seat over 11,000 people. Adam Nuemann on main stage, with sister Adi who acted as MC, hosted almost half that number.

Jerusalem Creator Awards finalists

Finalists in the WeWork Creator Awards appeared on stage after presenting their startup innovations.

Jerusalem Israel Creator Awards winner Yehudit Abrams

Winner Yehudit Abrams, the creator of MonitHer, won the first-place cash award in this regional competition and the chance to present in New York. Her hand-held ultrasound device could save lives by enabling early breast cancer detection.

Eurovision winner Netta in Jerusalem Israel for Creator Awards We Work

But that was not all.  After $770,000 was given away to the winners, the audience which was already on its feet never sat down as Netta, Israeli Eurovision winner, performed.

Jerusalem Creator Awards for WeWork finale

More music kept the event which began at 6:00 pm going until midnight.  More photos posted on Facebook HERE 

Jerusalem WeWork building site Israel

Meanwhile, Jerusalem WeWork is to open in October.   This was how it looked this week.

For more than two years, we have been following progress on Jerusalem building. I hope it is not like the fast train opening, constantly postponed.

Worn out from so much happening?

Relax. Meditate.

Jerusalem Israel International Yoga Day Big Dream in Hinon Valley

Jerusalem event for International Yoga Day: “The Big Picture” was held in Hinnom Valley.

Mondial on large screen on Jerusalem Israel street at night

And finally, for football (soccer) fans, the World Cup games, Mondiale Mania, continues.

Outdoor Jerusalem cafes are filled with viewers well into the night.

Another week with so much happening on the Jerusalem streets.

Entering the Creator Awards competition was simple. Just apply online by submitting a minute and half long video.

This was my video, one of 1,300 submissions.