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.

 

Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

Jerusalem Preparing for New Year

The Jewish holidays fall early this year.

Upon turning the calendar page to September, one finds that Rosh Hashana is only a week way.

Not sure where the summer went or how the time flew so fast.

Children are back in school and holiday preparations have begun.

Gan Sacher new area with cafe and landscaping.

Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, is getting a major make-over.

The new cafe should be finished for holiday crowds.

Emek Refaim Shir Chadash pre-Selihot music Yehudah Katz

Music is filling the streets and concert halls.

Shir Chadash Synagogue on Emek Refaim sponsored a musical performance by Yehuda Katz.

Listen to a minute from the after-Shabbat performance in this video.

Night time in Yemin Moshe stairs

The streets of Yemin Moshe were quiet at night.

But inside the Yemin Moshe synagogue, the Solomon Brothers were leading selichot, the pre-Rosh Hashana prayers.

Newly painted lions before holidays in Jerusalem Israel

The twin lions in the Jewish Quarter near the steps to the Kotel, Western Wall, got a new coat of paint before the holidays. The next day, the eyes and detailing were added.

New elevator at Western Wall, steps blocked.

With construction for a new elevator access, the regular steps are blocked.

They had better work fast here before the holiday crowds arrive.

Night at Kotel, before Rosh Hashana night of selihos

The moon was a brilliant orange color in the sky over the Kotel.

A bit of the sounds of the night. Amazing how fast the moon had moved, I tried to get in in the video and did not succeed.

Though it was approaching midnight, people were coming and going, but there were no overflow crowds.

Night time at Western Wall Kotel, egalitarian area Robinson's Arch empty

The Robinson’s Arch area was empty as usual when I went to check.

Heichel Shlomo crowd on night of selichot

However, at Heichal Shlomo, the overflow crowd was also at the back door trying to get inside.

The Old City and the Great Synagogue were not where the crowds were for the first night of these selichot prayers. They were at First Station.

Takana Rishona at night

Walking past the vendor stands and restaurants of First Station, in the Hangar

Selihot in Jerusalem Israel with Yitzhak Meir at Takana Rishona

Yitzhak Meir was leading a musical selichot service.

His following has grown over the past few years, with a larger venue each year.

Crowd at First Station for Selichot

Thousands attended in the Hangar as he sang with musical accompaniment.

This was not your grandfather’s service, mumbling the words after midnight in a small shul.

Jerusalem Mayoral candidates dancing at Selihot

You may not see this again, but approaching the New Year, Jerusalem mayoral candidates danced together at the conclusion of selichot. 

Jerusalem mayor candidates holding hands

The race could get nasty after the holidays, but at least for one night, the candidates joined hands and were singing and dancing together. These photos are screen shots from You Tube video.

Politicians were out the first day of school to be photographed with children going back to class.

Rosh Hashana sign near Old City

Summer is over. Shana tova signs are up.

Second hand sale Yad2Fair in Jerusalem

It’s buying and selling season in stores, at second hand fairs on Jerusalem, Israel streets,

Man selling linen on Jerusalem Israel street before holiday

and from pop-up vendors of all sort of housewares for preparing for holidays.

Jerusalem street sign from FoZ for shana tova

From huge holiday wishes from Friends of Zion,

Rosh Hashana gift basket

to the Shana Tova gift basket I found at my door,

Sign for erev Rosh Hashana at Takana Rishona

and another evening of selihot and prayers at First Station, many are the signs of Jerusalem preparing for New Year.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah on porch

And yes already a week before Rosh Hashana, the first sukka was spotted.

Up on this porch, a family is prepared and ready in Mea Shearim,

Shana tova שנה טובה on side of building in Jerusalem Israel

At least for now, the faces of candidates for mayor are down, and holiday greetings are up.

Wishing all a successful school year and a very good New Year 5779.

שנה טובה וכתיבה וחתימה טובה

Jerusalem: Lights, Action, Camera

Jerusalem. Israel. In August.

When the evening temperatures cool and the sun is setting, and people venture outside.

Jerusalem Israel Jaffa Gate at sunset from Bet Shmuel;

As the setting sun reflects off the Old City walls, it lights up a ‘Jerusalem of Gold.’

Inside Beit Shmuel, at the MassChallenge Finale, ten start-up winners were announced to go to Boston to present their business ideas with the hope of obtaining funding.

Mass Challenge Finale Mayor NIr Barkat receiving award Israel Ganot

But first on stage was Mayor Nir Barkat to receive a special award from MC director Israel Ganot. Barkat co-founded a very successful early cyber-tech startup called CheckPoint.

Nir Barkat at Mass Challenge Finale

Having attended one of Barkat’s early meetings where he shared his vision for Jerusalem to be a bio-technology world center, as I stood in the international crowd of hundreds of startup initiators, mentors and eager funders,  I marveled how far the Jerusalem biotech and startup scene has grown.

Jerusalem is no Tel Aviv, but watch out. To come so far in 10 years is amazing.

Hebrew Jerusalem Israel street sign for children in summer

During the summer in Jerusalem, what is on many minds is keeping their children busy.

Puppet Festival in Perusal Israel Hebrew sign

I love that there is an annual International Puppet Festival.

Summer programs for children in Jerusalem Israel

The Nature Museum has musical programs for children and special Shabbat programs.

The concerts in the Sultan’s Pool giant outdoor stage are too many to list.

First Station has free musical entertainment most nights.

This summer public parks not only have music, but some are encouraging families to camp out in tents.

International Arts Festival in Jerusalem end of summer

The annual end of summer biggie, the International Arts and Crafts Festival, is on.  Construction of the booths for dozens of countries to showcase their wares has been going on for over a week.

A line-up of various popular Israel performers are to be on the giant stage each night.

JTown Free to Be you and me at AACI Jerusalem Israel

The small JTown Theater stage at AACI in Talpiot has a new production.

“Free to Be You and Me” is performed and scheduled for children, with shows in the afternoon and Friday mornings in August.

This production of Marlo Thomas’ gender-bias-breaking work is very timely.

On other stages and screens, the Jerusalem Film Festival has announced its awards.

Founding of Shas political party film UnOrthodox opened Jerusalem Film Festival

“The Unorthodox” did not win a prize, though it was selected to be featured on the Jerusalem Film Festival opening night at Sultan’s Pool.

Director of The UnOrthodox Eliran Malka at Lev Smadar after showing of his movie

I saw the movie at Lev Smadar on Monday, with director Eliran Malka answering questions from audience after the screening.

All movies in the film festival have English subtitles. This trailer is in Hebrew, but I am sharing, that even if you do not understand the language, you can get a feel for the intensity of Shuli Rand’s performance. Rand plays a father whose daughter was expelled from school for being Sephardi, and goes on to initiate the Shas political party.

The docudrama keeps the audience on edge as it unfolds, even though we already know that Shas went on to be successful beyond every early projection.

Malka is a graduate of Maaleh. In case you are not familiar with this Jerusalem school, here is a link, as Maaleh’s film library is available to the public on the Maaleh website.

In honor of Israel@70, Maaleh has opened a special YouTube channel, where viewers have access to 70 Maaleh short films for free, and susan@maale.co.il is happy to email you the link.

Jerusalem culture festival MekudeshetAfter months of preparation and advertising Mekudeshet is running from August 8- 28.

How does one describe this out-of-box culture festival, where some events are free and in the middle of the night?

One performance is at the YMCA pool, and the audience is to come in bathing suits and participate.

Never know what you will find on the Jerusalem streets, or in the Y, or yes, up on the roof tops too.

Another week with so much happening in Jerusalem.

There is more, but I will leave you with part of a song from the versatile, talented Shuli Rand.

Rand performed in June, at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s residence.