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,

Rivlin

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,

smiles

smiling well-wishers,

singers and dancers

graceful dancers,

parade

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.

#IsraeliLivesMatter

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.

Meanwhile,

music at Kraft Stadium

Kraft Stadium was also the scene of hundreds of people

with live music and dancing.

10. Finally, the popular Umbrellas,

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 Terror Too Close to Home

Monday it was raining and pouring 

and puddles of dirty water filled the streets.

image rain and baby in stroller

The stormy weather kept many people inside.

Where is the one place to find a crowd

no matter what the weather?

A synagogue in a religious neighborhood at morning prayers:

 it is a sure thing.

Third intifada or not,

Tuesday’s pools of blood from the horrific murders

filled a Jerusalem, Israel, synagogue, spilling into the streets.

I will refrain from sharing those photos,

as my friend Varda wrote on that topic.

 I posted in Israellycool yesterday,

the extended family of Rav Moshe Twersky z”l has been important

image Rabbi Moshe Twersky murdered by terroists

to us for more years than I want to count.

I prefer to share photos of victims we want to remember.

After I wrote that,

we found out yet another connection to the victims.

Looking through mainstream media accounts,

one sees photos of the butchering murderers,

but not even the names of the victims.

Sometimes it feels as though there are no degrees of separation.

We had the privilege of being present

at the engagement and wedding,

of Rav Kalman Levine’s z”l daughter.

image kalman levine

And in the same building where he was murdered,

Rav Kalman Levine z”l had the joy of celebrating

the brit milah of a grandson in May 2012.

Rabbi Aryeh Kupinsky z”l was originally from Detroit,

and moved to Har Nof from Kiryat Arba many years ago.

Avraham Shmuel Goldberg z”l was originally from Liverpool.

Today there was news of a fifth fatality,

the Israeli policeman who was first to arrive at the crime scene,

Zidan Sayif, who was a member of the Druze community

and also a young father.

Howie Rothman, originally from Canada,

is in a coma, having barely survived an ax attack to his head.

The family of Shmuel Yerucham ben Baila asked for Tehillim,

prayers for his recovery and the other victims.

Not all is good on the real streets.

image restaurant that was bombed

A new security guard stands alert at the entrance

to this popular cafe spot, next to the sign

marking the spot where these people were killed by a suicide bomber.

image of Hebrew sign

 The celebration for new Olim was held,

sorry I was not able to attend and share it with you.

However, today a new group of 58 immigrants

arrived from the United States.

These olim have chosen to make Israel,

 their new home.

They can join us in offering the traditional words

of comfort to mourners:

המקום  ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

Besorot tovot

is a popular expression heard this week,

with everyone looking for good news.

But when will Arab media stop inciting violence?

Balancing on a Tightrope

We moved to Jerusalem, Israel in August,

that hot time of year when the windows are open all night.

For weeks, when I heard noises in the night of firecrackers and gun shots,

I would run to the window to see what was happening:

another Arab wedding, another party, another random celebration.

It took awhile, but I eventually stopped listening and looking.

On Friday night there were noises again,

but this time I got up out of bed to look.

I saw nothing, all was quiet.

Around Israel 6 people have been killed in less than a month,

by the terrible “car intifada” and “knife intifada” attacks.

I try not to be political here at RJS,

but incitement has been fueled and fed for a long time.

However,

image sunny day in Jerusalem  Israel

most of Jerusalem is quiet

Yet everyone is watching carefully for what could be next.

image Tzomat Hagush bus stop

This man dressed in white at Tzomet Hagush bus stop

got more than a second glance from a passing police car.

Last Friday Abu Mazen called for a “Day of Rage.”

image men playing music on street

But the music for Einstein on Azza played on,

as hundreds of people listened to university lectures

and gathered in restaurants,

image people at street cafe

including music at this location, 100 meters from the Prime Minister’s residence,

where 11 people were killed and 54 injured

by a suicide bomber in 2002.

image boys window shopping in Mamilla Mall

In Mamilla Mall you could window shop and dream.

image people walking to old city by Jaffa gate

 Jaffa Gate looked the same,

only the beigele sellers were missing.

people walking in old city

Inside Jaffa Gate people were out,

image going into arab shuk

with extra security entering the Arab shuk.

Image western wall plaza entrance

But huge  protests and rage were hard to find,

as this security team was more interested in checking their cell hones.

image Kossel plaza

Certainly police and lots of other security personnel were visible

around the Western Wall plaza.

image women in colorful clothing at kotel

Fewer visitors made it easier to get a place to pray by the Wall.

I heard noises coming from Silwan,

image Arab boy on roof top

and found boys on the roof tops looking for the source:

firecrackers, tear gas shots or real bullets?

But there were no reports of serious incidents there.

Perfect weather in the fall is the time to be outside,

and not inside these old stone buildings that do not warm up.

image Liberty Bell Park

The Liberty Bell Park was empty.

Usually on Fridays the park is filled with Arab families picnicking,

image a bird in empty Gan Paamon playground

and the playground filled with Arab women and children.

They should be raging – that they are stuck inside on a glorious day,

leaving the playground for the birds.

image new Hebrew sign

In Jerusalem, there is a new cinema,

image Jerusalem road

new roads,

image Jerusalem new bridge at Malha Mall

 new walkway to cross from Malha Mall to Teddy Stadium,

image new park in Jerusalem

and new park nearby under construction.

image oud festival

And now is the annual Oud Festival time celebrating Arab music.

Today I followed two young men speaking Arabic.

They went into same building I did, to their bank.

One was wearing an Israeli army backpack.

image of Hebrew sign

Signs celebrating “Aliyah for Everyone ” are up near the Jerusalem Theater.

New immigrants are arriving in November,

to add the the strange mix of old and new that is Jerusalem, Israel.