Sights and Sounds of Sukkot in Jerusalem

This time of year in Jerusalem, Israel, as the temperatures cool down and the Sukkot holiday season begins people come out of their homes, and the streets are filled with new strange sights and sounds.

In the Old City, in the Rova, the Jewish Quarter, there were many sukkot.

This large sukkah was at the Kotel, at the back of the Western Wall Plaza, and many more sukkot were visible above.

The festive Birkat Cohanim the holiday Priestly Blessing was scheduled for two days, not just one, to spread out the crowds and limit size and numbers attending this year for Sukkot.

Police and security were in place for the masses, but as you see on Wednesday, there were more security barriers than people at Jaffa Gate.

Inside Jaffa Gate, people went to pass through the Arab Shuk, as it was relatively quiet also.

Dignitaries were positioned to the left and up above the crowd at the Wall.

The whole service was broadcast live and available on YouTube both days.

I have come to Birkat Cohanim before, but certainly, on Wednesday, the scene was not like the usual as in 2012.

There was room for people to move freely, with the special security personnel wearing purple vests checking that everyone had a mask.

For the two minutes of the Birkat Cohanim, most people stood quietly. From this angle, the scene appeared similar to the past. It was so hot in the sun that my camera overheated, so I didn’t get a video.

But I did get a few minutes of the Musaf service to share with you. The choir added a more musical touch and length to the prayer service.

But Sukkot is about the sukkot, those “huts” or “illegal structures” that pop up and around the Jerusalem streets for this holiday week.

This one I had not noticed before and I’m not sure who built it.

I wondered how many others noticed it way up there over the Kotel Plaza?

Look up and you can see sukkot on porches, wooden ones and simple ones,

a sukkah on a Jerusalem porch with a wall of colorful fabric,

or made of wood with flower boxes.

The King David Hotel didn’t have the usual huge sukkah in their parking lot, but it looked like something was on the roof.

The Jerusalem Theater had a sukkah in front near the main entrance.

Some were placed on Jerusalem street corners.

This one was not new, but in a new location, off the new main sidewalk.

The giant sukkah in Kikar Safra was back. Who remembers that it was featured in one of the early RJS posts 11 years ago?

It is big, public, and with special times for the Jerusalem Mayor and his wife to greet the public.

Similar to old times, Mayor Moshe Lion and his wife, stood and posed for photo after photo. New, security checked for a green pass and mask to enter.

Across Jaffa Road from the Jerusalem Municipality is Shushan Street, dressed in new colors for the Sukkot holiday crowds to appreciate.

On Jaffa Road was a Chabad sukkah available for one to stop and make their holiday blessings.

But on the other side of the light rail tracks, Jaffa Road was lined with sukkot from the various food places for their customers to sit and eat.

Thursday evening families crowded around the various entertainers,

performers were every few meters, and other musicians were nearby.

Not sure what this was on Ben Yehudah Street, but it did get my attention.

One of several couples performing – more photos on Facebook – HERE

There were the traditional holiday sights in the Old City.

But this year for the first time there was a neighborhood street festival called The Heroines of the Palmach – for those interested, see more Here

Our sukkah was up and ready, and decorated in time for a photo, and happily withstood the wind and a little light rain.

Though we kept the meals much smaller than usual, it was good to have guests again after last year’s limitations.

We are only partway thru the holiday week, with Hashana Raba and Simhat Torah coming to make this another “short” week ahead. As we ask and try to remember each morning “what day is this”? More holiday events are planned, limited in scope, but at least happening much more than last year.

Shana Tova! In Jerusalem, signs are posted near major Jerusalem parks.

Here’s hoping this will be a healthy and good year for all!

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.

 

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.