Best of Jerusalem on Sukkot

Best of Jerusalem on Sukkot

Another Sukkot holiday season has come to a close.

Tens of thousands of tourists and visitors arrived from around the world.

As usual, Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing, was a popular event,

but there was much more happening in Jerusalem, Israel.

Hebrew sign at Liberty Bell Park

Jerusalem parks and green spaces welcomed large crowds for the holidays.

Beit Hanasi garden for sukka open house

The garden was ready for the annual “open sukka”at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Rivlin and LItzman with giant mouth on sukkot to promote health

Good health was the theme this year, and Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman came for a preview.

Making melon fruit drinks at Beit Hanasi for Sukkot

They watched as pedal-powered bikes made ice cold fruit drinks, here with a watermelon base.

The lemon/nana (mint) I had was refreshing on a hot day.

Sukka in Beit Hanasi open for public

The weather was warm, but the sukka was cool and inviting.

Wall of sukkah at Beit Hanasi with Hamsa

One wall was lined with colorful hamsa designs each with a different slogan.

Wall of sukka at Israeli President House

The other wall was lined with the ‘seven species’ that Israel is known for.

Etrog irregular shape at Beit Hanasi for sukkot

This ‘finger etrog’ was the best of the season. While not kosher for holiday use, it has the most interesting shape.

Sukkah at Israeli President House for private use

In addition, there was a traditional sukka on the Beit Hanasi grounds near the synagogue.

Muslim woman at Beit Hanasi taking a photo of President

This woman was taking photos of the President and MK Litzman inside Beit Hanasi. 

No one else thought the scene was photo-worthy, just another regular day in Jerusalem.

An annual event on Sukkot is the Jerusalem Parade.

Jerusalem Parade security

Streets were closed, and security services were out to protect the tens of thousands on the streets.

Entrance to Sacher Park day of Jerusalem Parade

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, was the gathering place for thousands of march participants.

Israeli families come each year for activities in the park.

Jerusalem Parade costumes

They also come to see the colorful and interesting costumes.

Jerusalem March people dressed in elaborate costumes

Close to 100 countries were represented this year.

Jerusalem Parade Sukkot tabernacles

Women in matching costumes carried 12 tabernacles with the most amazing coordination.

The march proceeded to First Station by way of Bezalel Street.

People walking in Jerusalem Parade on Sukkot

The excitement of the participants was obvious.

Sukkot Parade Jerusalem March

Each year I thank my friends who are named Brazil for introducing me to this event.

Most countries come prepared with small flags to give out to those lining the streets to watch.

I hope they got something good from the marchers this year, as Brazil had the largest group with 900 participants.

Jerusalem March for Sukkot

While Israelis return each year, this man from Brooklyn was at the parade for the first time.

Jerusalem Sukkot parade woman dress in red, white and blue

This woman, I assume from the USA, was all ready to give out the Stars and Stripes.

We love Israel banner at Jerusalem Sukkot March

Sponsored by the International Christian Embassy of Jerusalem, many marchers come back every year to show their love for Israel.

International group at Jerusalem Sukkot Parade

Even security guards can relax rules at this feel-good event. A guard let these women into the park through an exit gate when they arrived late.  Notice all the flags he had already collected from the marchers.

Not just Christian visitors participate, as IDF soldiers, and other Israeli groups march also.

So much more happened over the holidays. There was music and dancing night after night at hotels and local community centers, and even the Harlem Globetrotters performed in Jerusalem.

Sukkot in Jerusalem,  another amazing holiday season has come to an end.

One more quick look at the impressive parade and Facebook photos here.

Much is happening in October, so no down time after the holidays on the Jerusalem streets.

 

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.