10 Favorites of Sukkot: Photo Essay

Over the Sukkot holiday, it was hard to keep up

with all that was happening in Jerusalem, Israel.

Every year the Sukkot holiday season is a busy time,

and this year was the same, yet very different.

With the ongoing terror attacks increasing drastically

it was hard to know what to post.

Staying true to my goal of sharing what is really happening,

means that life in Israel goes on.

So I have decided to share some favorites,

  the good things and best events

that did not make international headlines.

 1. The Jerusalem Biennale Contemporary Jewish Art,

hosted 10 exhibitions in 7 locations,

with 200 international artists.

 It alone could be several posts.

Contemporary Art Jewish

The new Polonsky Building at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute,

 was the site of the opening of two international exhibits,

and was a stand-out favorite as a new must-see venue.

2. The annual Kite Festival at the Israel Museum

was fun, but not as large as usual,

Jerusalem Kite Festival

 at least one kite had a “whale” of a time.

3. The Tower of David Museum,

is always wonderful at night,

actor welcomes visitors to Tower of David

and as an extra for the holidays,

guests were welcomed by costumed actors.

4. At the Kotel, the Western Wall,

Kossel plaza filled with people

tens of thousands of people came for Birchat Kohanim,

the Priestly Blessing, in the morning,

and again in evening for the Hakhel ceremony.

men dancing on sukkos at Kossel

Singing and dancing to the live music,

children dancing

these families were celebrating,

long after the bands stopped playing.

 5. Open Sukkah at Beit Hanassi,

Beit Hanasi Gardens for open sukkah

was colorful and casual this year,


as Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted the annual event.

inside Israel president sukkah

Inside the sukkah, decorations were simple,

four species for sukkot

and a lulav with etrog were available for the public to use.

sukkot 5776 at Beis Hanasi

Behind the permanent exhibit of the heads of former presidents,

large posters were hung with information about each one.

Nechama Rivlin

First Lady Nechama Rivlin stood to greet visitors.

What a shame,

no long line this year beit hanasi

this year there was shade, but no long line waiting to enter

the beautiful gardens that are usually off-limits to the public.

6. One very Special Chuppah

was near the Montefiore Windmill.

Often there are brides and grooms in this area,

so a white chuppah would not get my attention.

Make a Wish special princess for a day

A large throne under a pink chuppah with balloons

was fit for a princess, Princess Tamar.

special cake

Volunteers from Make-a-Wish Foundation spent hours

fixing every detail to delight a young girl with cancer,

and grant her wish to be a princess for a day.

7. The 60th Jerusalem Parade 

is an annual event on much larger scale.

Jerusalem parade

60,000 people participated,

with marchers from all over the world.

spectators at Jerusalem march

These people had great view along the new route

which went past the King David Hotel to First Station.

marchers in Jerusalem parade

Colorful costumes,

marching in parade

large flags,


smiling well-wishers,

singers and dancers

graceful dancers,


all were happy to show support for Israel.

(To see Facebook photos: more here)

8. The Sukkah at Kikar Safra was open,

open sukka city hall

  Mayor Nir Barkat and wife Beverly,

greeted the public warmly,

large sukkah

in the over-sized, biggest sukkah.

But, the Yemin Moshe Synagogue wins for best windows in a sukkah.

special sukkah decorations

While many sukkot have posters of the Old City Walls hanging on the wall,

this one had spaces in one wall open for the view of the real thing.

9. After Sukkot celebrations:

community celebration

Shlomo Katz performed in one of the many community

Hakafot Shni’yot, this one at the German Colony community center.


The rally near the Prime Minister’s residence,

felt and sounded more like an extended holiday celebration,

but it was a protest calling for better security.

protest Palestinian violence

I only found one poster at the rally,

baby at protest rally

but there were lots of cute babies,

in the crowd of thousands.


music at Kraft Stadium

Kraft Stadium was also the scene of hundreds of people

with live music and dancing.

10. Finally, the popular Umbrellas,


the hottest photo-op of this summer in Jerusalem,

were hung over Yoel Salomon Street.

But as the holiday ended and the rain started,

umbrellas down

the umbrellas were taken down,

end of summer

and piled on side of the road.

They were filthy and had holes,

but I took one home as a souvenir.

Finally,  it is “after the chagim”

the holidays are over, and it is now

time to get back to “normal” what ever that is.

With so much bad new news,

I would like to end with one piece of

 tech start-up nation good news

and from the Jerusalem streets  more sounds of music.

Special Sukkot Sukkah

Like every year, the Sukkot holiday is a busy time

in Jerusalem, Israel.

There is so much to prepare,

Sukkos Jerusalem

and great concentration is invested in

Jerusalem esrog market

every little detail.

I set out to find something new and different,

from the best of sukkot of the past years,

to add to favorite sukkot of Sukkot.

sukka Haas Promenade

The view from the sukkah on the Tayelet,

the Haas Promenade, was one of the best.

Kossel Succos

This huge sukkah under construction in the Kotel plaza,

the Western Wall, was impressive.

large cloth sukka on street

Large cloth sukkot line many streets.

Rova sukka

In the Rova, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City,

in front of the Hurva Synagogue

stands an impressive wooden sukkah.

sukka in Jerusalem Israel

The sukkah in the atrium of the Inbal Hotel

was decorated elegantly.

Jerusalem sukka on a roof

I caught the top of  this sukkah in Yemin Moshe,

peeking over the roof tops.

Jerusalem sukka

There were impressive wooden structures.

sukka Jerusalem

some hidden away in the Geula neighborhood.

But where could I find special and different for this year?

I went on a pre-Sukkot photo walk on Friday morning.

We started out in Mea Shearim,

but on the way to Machane Yehuda market,

I made a mistake and turned up the wrong alleyway.

Jerusalem sukka

There I found what seemed to be another wooden sukkah,

boards in alley in Geula

with a pile of junk nearby.

But sometimes.

one photo does not tell the whole story.

I was told that

Jerusalem sukka

people in the neighborhood had collected

all their old wooden doors and dressers and scraps of wood

walls of sukka Jerusalem

and given them to a group of young yeshiva men

who were living in their neighborhood,

so they could build their own sukkah.

It may not be the biggest or the prettiest sukkah,

 but it is one of my favorite stories.

Maybe the detour was not a mistake after all?

They posted this sign near the entrance:

Sukkot Jerusalem

הרחמן הוא יקים לנו את סוכת דוד הנפלת

May the Compassionate One restore the fallen sukkah of King David.

Western WAll

As the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza fills

with tens of thousands of people for the Birkat Kohanim

and Hakhel prayers this year,

 the buses join in wishing everyone

sukka bus sign Jerusalem

Moadim l”Simcha.

14 Erev Yom Kippur Sights in Jerusalem

The busy holiday season is well under way.

Before Rosh Hashana the heat and dirt

made it impossible to go outside,

car covered with dirt

and a few reminders are still around.

Shemitta is over

flower bed jerusalem Israel ready for planting

and public areas are ready for replanting.

selling decorations for Sukkot

Vendors of colorful Sukkah decorations have popped up all over.

But first, Yom Kippur is this week,

and huge crowds gathered nightly at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

for selihot prayers.

shul at Beit Hanasi

Last night there was a full house at the synagogue on the grounds

of Beit Hanassi, the Israeli President’s residence.

 for a musical selihot service.

Music at First Station

A large crowd was at First Station, Tachana Rishona,

Piyut time in Jerusalem

for a special Piyut Festival event,

but piyut and Klezmer music and selihot can be found

in many more locations as well.

First Station photo exhibit

First Station has a new display of old paper newspapers

with 70 years of history at a glance.

Lego Land

Lego Land at First Station was quiet,

since there are no more summer late-night outings with the kids,

and it is back to school for ‘meet-the-teacher’ nights instead.

Jerusalem Israel hebrew sign near Knesset

Kikar Safra, government square. is hosting

a huge sing-a-long for the start of the new year,

headlining popular singer Ehud Banai.

women Islamic Museum

There is a new exhibit on women at the Islamic Museum,

and the Tower of David and others are set for the openings of

the Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art.

Plus, tonight is an open house at the

Jerusalem Bloomfield Science Museum.

fall community festivals in Jerusalem

Neighborhood festivals are continuing,

Sukkos event

like this one on Derech Bet Lehem, Bethlehem Road.

Holiday visitors keep arriving from around the world.

Sukkos Jerusalem parade

The Jerusalem Parade, celebrating its 60th year,

will take place on October 1st,

and preparations are well under way for this international celebration.

Sukkot is always such a busy time with so much happening.


Now it is time to finish preparing for Yom Kippur.

Israeli bus with Yom Kippur holiday greeting

The buses are well into the mood,

displaying a greeting to be sealed for a good year.

גמר חתימה תובה

Wishing all a good, healthy and peaceful year.

 For a few more sounds of the season:

click HERE

Jerusalem before Rosh Hashannah

The week of preparations for Rosh Hashanah in Jerusalem, Israel,

begins with a very late Saturday night.

selichos Jerusalem

Hundreds tried to pack into Ohel Nechama Synagogue

for special musical selichot service at 11:30 pm.

It was too crowded and hot for me,

Jerusalem sehilchos

so I went to the Great Synagogue,

where over a thousand people,

came to hear the Chazan who always draws a large crowd.

western wall prayer

Then on to the Old City and the Kotel, Western Wall,

where groups of men gathered to read the Selihot prayers.

Selihot at western wall

Thousands of people were there.

Remember this is already after 1:00 am,

and people were still arriving as I left.

old city sleichos

But walking through the Rova, the Jewish Quarter,

I heard singing and music.

I followed the sounds to a small synagogue where another

Carlebach-style minyan was going on and on.

There were other large crowds

on the Jerusalem, Israel streets this week,

but you probably did not hear about them.


This bus blocked Emek Refaim Street,

Yad2 street fair

for a neighborhood street fair sponsored

 by Yad2, a second-hand selling group.

crowd on Emek Refaim

Huge crowds turned out and the streets were full.

Young and old were able to stroll and shop,

to the music of many different musicians playing along the street.

costumed dancer

A man inside this inflated costume performed all kinds of contortions

as a Klezmer Band played in the background.

child entertianer

This puppeteer had an impressive collection of puppets

and put on a show that involved children in the audience.

entertainer at Yad2 fair

Many street entertainers performed,

two people in costume

it was a colorful event that went on for hours,

but I had to leave.

Muslim man and woman going to Emek REaim street

I was walking over to Hansen House

for a special event.

A much smaller crowd gathered in the courtyard,

of the Old Leper Hospital,

under renovation as a cultural and tech center.

Hansen Hospital courtyard

Six impressive Israeli StartUps presented.

Lishtot, a way to test water quality in two seconds,

won the StartUp Open 2015 competition

of the Global Entrepreneurship Network.

Lishtot will represent Israel in the global contest to be held in November.

And then,

Ols City view during sandstorm

the skies filled with dirt,

with particles too small to be called a sandstorm,

but a miserable haze,

where the Old City Walls were difficult to see.

Hot and dirty air is keeping me off the streets today.

Tower of David

But, before Rosh Hashannah I would rather go

back to photos from earlier in the week to end,

Maillma Mall art work

on a much more pleasant note.

שנה טובה

Happy New Year.

Statue of musicians in Mamilla Mall not enough,

here are links for two short videos

of Old City selihot.

 Chziki Sofer not only sings Carlebach, he sounds like Reb Shlomo.



Last of Summer in Jerusalem

The evenings are cooler.

But when you enter the house and think, ah, so cool,

only to see the thermometer reads 80 F degrees,

you realize the hot weather is still around.

It is the end of summer in Jerusalem, Israel.

Jerusalem Theatre music

The large outdoor stage for musical performances

Jerusalem Theatre at sunset

in the courtyard of the Jerusalem Theater

will be disassembled and stored.


 in the Abu-Tor neighborhood,

New cinema Jerusalem

 new and to be open on Shabbat,

Yes Planet movie theater in Jerusalem

Yes Planet Jerusalem has opened.

new theatre Jerusalem

With 4DX,

new theater inside

 changing lights

cinema in Jerusalem

and colors,

Jerusalem movie theater

it reminded me of Jerusalem Cinema City.

New movie theater Jerusalem

It has over-the-top color video selections

but on a much smaller scale,

without fountains and statutes and kosher food.

If you want a non-kosher,

regular McDonald’s meal and a choice of movies on Saturday,

now is your time.

Jerusalem music

And Yes Planet also has a stage for live music.

 No, I have no idea about the name – Yes Planet.


it was so good to see that as the weather cooled off

Takana Rishona market

First Station was bustling again.

Besides its regular Farmer’s Market

and stalls selling just about everything,

there was a special Indian Festival,

outdoor summer music

with people seated for live music.

little cars

Some people were much more interested in the cars

than the Indian music, items for sale or the food.

handicap bike

Cooler evenings and people were out.

Now it is back to school.

Time to prepare for Rosh Hashannah and

first sukka of season

 today I saw the first sukkah of the season.