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.

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.



Jerusalem Summer Nights

During summer evenings in Jerusalem, Israel,

Yemin Moshe street

I could wander the streets of Yemin Moshe every day

and never be bored, as there is always something new.

Often in the evenings, young brides come for photos,

but only recently  did I see

Palestinian couple

 a woman elegantly dressed in wine color and gold.

Ah, wine.

The Jerusalem Wine Festival at the Israel Museum

has become a popular August tradition.

Wine festival crowd at Israel Museum

Thousands crowd into the Museum Gardens each night,

Wine Festival crowd

 with a sell-out crowd on Thursday night

for wine-tasting, live music and more.

 Thursday night events have been hard to keep up with,

as there are so many new ones this summer.

Night Market Jerusalem

The Jerusalem Night Market on Jaffa Street

scene from Aion Square

was full of vendor stalls at Zion Square.

night on jaffa road

While closer to Kikar Safra, Government Square,

the new street installation provided a

Jaffa Street Jerusalem Israel

misty shower to those who got close.

Jerusalem Night Market

One vendor seemed to open up shop without need of an official stall.

Crowds have come back to the Jerusalem City Center,

Ben Yehuda at night

leisurely strolling on Jaffa and Ben Yehuda Streets,

Ben Yehuda Street msuicain

with musicians performing along the way.

Another free August musical event is held on

Thursday nights in the Hansen House Gardens.

Hansen House at night

A brightly-lit path led to the entrance

Hansen House at dark

of the renovated old hospital building.

Oh so different from a few years ago,

Music at Hansen House

it is open to the public, with colorful lights and music.

Hansen House music at night

Now it is possible to listen, enjoy, and relax in a swing.

Music from parks and First Station are some of the wonderful

sounds filling the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

While a cool night and humid, grey morning clouds

 were the first signs of end of summer,

 there is still time for Mini-Luna Park, Children’s Park in First Station,

and Dinosaurs at Botanical Gardens before all schools start.

The annual Beer Festival and Sacred Music Festival

will end the summer festival season.

Always much happening in Jerusalem, Israel,

not news, but new good stuff mixing with the old.

Shabbat Shalom and Chodesh Tov

With the month of Elul beginning,

from the dedication of 75 Torah scrolls,

one of my favorite photos seemed most appropriate.

man touching torah

שבת שלום וחודש טוב

Shabbat shalom and Chodesh tov.

Jerusalem: Gay Parade Photos You Did Not See

It is hot outside.

It is so very hot that the cold water from the tap needs ice to cool off.

Wild forest fires were burning.

The smell of burnt wood filled the air last night.

Shira Banki, the girl stabbed at the

 Jerusalem March for Pride and Tolerance died of her wounds.


JustinRoths and now Laura have been writing,

 many more friends are posting on Facebook.

I posted on the parade on Israellycool last week.


I did not do a RJS Shabbat Shalom greeting.

But not to say something, to ignore events turning Jerusalem,

Israel, and Israelis inside out?


That fateful Thursday afternoon,

I went to see what was happening,

and I want to share some photos of scenes you did not see.

gay parade

Gan Ha’atzmaut, Independence Park

had a nice size crowd gathered for the start of march,

 rainbow colors were even on cars.

The crowd seemed larger than previous years.

The route was different from last year,

horse and police patrol

 as always the police horses were worthy of a look.

I was on Lincoln Street minutes before the stabber.

wedding carcar decorated for wedding

There was a car decorated for a Tu B’Av wedding,

this is wedding season, heat or no heat wave.

street blocked for gay parade

City buses blocked traffic for the parade,

and some people were held up for two hours.

Jerusalem street photo

Walking was best way to get around.

But, there were so many other things happening too.

networking group

Made in Jerusalem was celebrating

Jerusalem’s ranking as one of the top 50 start-up cities.

People were also gathering near them at First Station

for a Klezmer band to start performing,

part of Klezmer Festival taking place in many venues.

Muslim pcinic

Muslim families were picnicking in this park,

while at Kraft Stadium the annual Woodstock Revival was rocking on.

train that takes tourists around old city

The new tourist train to Old City was running.


The new elevator at the Cinematheque is coming along,

to provide better access for the disabled.

construction Jerusalem

 Isrotel Hotel across from First Station is going up.

Jerusalem street photo

At least one women on Emek Refaim was using her head,

Jerusalem cafe street photo

while others at this cafe were looking down.

Really big news,

Jerusalem Street photo

 a 5 shekel cafe has opened in the German Colony.

Around the corner,

building Jerusalem photo at night

the Christian Embassy lights go on as it gets dark,

always a beautiful scene.

There are all kinds of jokes and myths about full moons,

but that night was also a ‘Blue Moon’.

Jerusalem sunset

Blue moons are not blue,

they just happen once in awhile.

That night the full, blue moon rose over the Kidron Valley.

As traffic was stopped for emergency crews and police,

 just a few minutes and meters away,

all was so peaceful looking.

Today it was so very hot,

Jerusalem street photo bus stop

as these women were waiting for a bus,

at the stop along the march route,

another day on the Jerusalem, Israel streets.