Sukkot in Jerusalem

Sukkot in Jerusalem

Sukkot 5779 in Jerusalem, Israel.

Tens of thousands of visitors have arrived. Rental cars are booked and fill the streets.

Traffic can back up any time anywhere, especially in Old City when streets are closed.

Kotel for birchat kohanim

Tens of thousands crowd into and around the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza for the annual Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

This year was different with no helicopters circling over Jerusalem during the blessing.

Sukkah building in Jerusalem

The sidewalk along King George Street is filled with sukkot from nearby eateries. Here the frame of one sukkah is being assembled before the holiday.

Jerusalem sukka building

Small signs and locations of places to buy and build a sukka appear all around Jerusalem before the holiday.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah building

These huge signs were hard to miss on the side of the building.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah

A sukka could be found on empty corner spots,

Sukkah on balconies in Jerusalem Israel

on porch balconies on front of apartment buildings,

Jerusalem sukka on back small porches

and tucked away on small porches in back of buildings.

Sign for Sukkot event in Jerusalem Israel

There were too many Sukkot festivals for families to list them all here.

The weather during the day was perfect for parades, musical performances, and more held each day in Jerusalem.

Beit Lecham Street no traffic for street fair Jerusalem Israel

The usually busy Derech Beit Lehem street was cleared of traffic for an evening street festival.

Live music for Jerusalem Israel street fair on Sukkot

These were a few of the musicians rehearsing in the afternoon.

Jerusalem Hotel Orient sukkah on top

There is a sukka on top of the new Orient Hotel.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah built at First Station

Across at First Station, kosher eateries have large sukkot.

First Station Jerusalem Israel WeWork sukkah

But new and different this year, there is a WeWork sukka at First Station.

Jerusalem Israel sukkah in First Station by WeWork

Where else but Jerusalem, will you find, free wifi, beer, coffee, and working spaces, with a lulav and etrog on the table?

Personal sukkah at street level in Jerusalem Israel

From a private home sukka, 

Jerusalem sukkah in park

to a simple sukka in public park,

Sukkah in Inbal Hotel atrium Jerusalem Israel

to a large elaborate sukka, as in the Inbal Hotel atrium– there is no place for Sukkot like Jerusalem.

Sukkah for publis at Beit Hanasi

On Thursday, at Beit Hanasi the President’s Residence will be open to public.

Here is a first peak of the large public sukka.

Check back next time for a full tour of exhibits for this year’s healthy theme.

Or go stand in line, Beit Hanasi is open from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Sign in Hebrew for Beit Avi Chai end of Sukkot Hashana Raba

And there is still much more of the holiday to come…and enjoy.

Sukkot holiday greeting of public Jerusalem Israel bus

 

Moadim l’simcha.

Happy holidays to all.

After the Holidays, What Now?

For months people have said “after the chagim

well, the time has now arrived and the holidays are over.

Yesterday the winter session of the Knesset began in Jerusalem, Israel,

only to shut down a few hours later, to prepare for elections in January.

Knesset

However, the lights were still on in the building when I went to sleep.

Over 40 rockets fired from Gaza fell already this week in the South.

There is the nuclear threat from Iran.

No one knows what will happen next on the Jerusalem streets,

but there certainly are many cameras on hand to record it.

Muslim Quarter

Sukkot holiday crowds pushed through the Old City to the Kotel,

 the Western Wall,  for Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

photographers Jerusalem

Photographers were ready for action in the crowded Muslim Quarter.

photographers Jerusalem

Serious cameras were there to get close-ups of the faces.

Old City

Thousands of smiling visitors posed for their moment.

Meir Goldreicht

There were so many phones out taking photos,

Kosel crowd

 many were photos of the holiday crowds at the Kotel.

In the sukkah at Beit Hanasi, the President’s residence,

sukkah

not only people posed for photos,

seeing eye dog

but even this dog stopped and posed.

kids camera

There were children taking pictures

Shimon Peres

and official photos with President Shimon Peres as well.

Having your camera handy is a good thing, 

mime

as you never know when you will need it on the Jerusalem streets.

Jerusalem parade

At the Jerusalem Parade, marchers took photos with and of the spectators.

Nigerian tourists

Who knew so many Nigerians were camera crazy?

Jerusalem streets are narrow,

a car on the corner can make it impossible for a truck to pass.

cars

This looked like possible trouble, so I took a photo of the scene.

Not everyone wants me to take their photos, that is for sure.

pose for camera

 In fact, this man jumped out of his truck and started towards me!

I sure was relieved that all he wanted was for me to take his photo!

Most people are back to work.

School classes are in session until Hanukkah,

the universities start next week.

One might expect quiet streets, 

but yesterday there were crowds and shofars and cameras

bar mitzvah

and drums for a bar mitzvah boy’s celebration.

Gotta love those Jerusalem streets,

where you never know what or who you will find.

Gilad Shalit Home

During Chol Hamoed Sukkot, the intermediate days of  Sukkot in Jerusalem,

 huge crowds gather at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

for Birchat Kohanim, the Priestly Blessing.

They stand in long lines to greet the President at his annual sukkah open house.

However, this year all media attention has been on the return of Gilad Shalit.

1000 days after he was kidnapped on June 25, 2006,

 a night-time rally was held by a tent in Jerusalem

that was erected near the Prime Minister’s official residence.

At first

it was a simple affair,

staffed with one or two volunteers

and some banners.

Then July 2010,

 the Shalit family walked to Jerusalem from their home in Mitzpe Hila

and took up “residence” in the tent and a small food area was added.

Real floors were installed on top of the sidewalks

 and the kitchen was upgraded.

Deliveries to feed the growing numbers of workers were increased.

The numbers of yellow ribbons, flags and photographers increased.

Being photographed inside the tent with the Shalits

or broadcasting outside became a media priority.

Tee shirt sales were booming.

Runners in the Jerusalem marathon carried Gilad Shalit flags.

  Additional signs were installed across the street.

Schools from around the world posted signs of support

and were among the hundreds of busloads of visitors.

The tent was insulated for winter.

In the summer, sitting outside was often more comfortable to receive visitors.

With the “5 minutes of silence for 5 years of  captivity” campaign,  Noam Shalit

received extensive media attention for the Free Gilad Shalit campaign.

Dozens of photographers looked for a winning shot.

TV news did live broadcast as the busy intersection came to a stop.

The next day the Shalits checked the papers to see how the event was reported.

Then on day 1934 of captivity,

it was announced that a prisoner exchange had been agreed upon.

 Gilad Shalit was coming home.

The family returned to their home, the tent was emptied and closed.

Today the Shalit family and much of the country is euphoric.

Everyone wanted Gilad Shalit home, after his 1941 days held in isolation in Gaza..

But there is another side of the street… at what price?

The counter protests were small, but sincere.

Many family members of victims of terror feel betrayed as their loved ones’

killers are set free.

Is a deal that releases multiple mass murderers who are determined to kill again,

really good for the country?