18 Good Things in Jerusalem: From Yom Kippur to Sukkot

Oh what a different year this is in Jerusalem!

Jerusalem, Israel was the destination for millions of visitors for the autumn holiday season. The streets were filled with rental cars and excited tourists.

This year due to the coronavirus restrictions, the Kotel, Western Wall Plaza is mostly deserted, day and night time.

The area inside the Wilson’s Arch is closed again.

For Yom Kippur most synagogues were closed.

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Some synagogues made use of their outdoor spaces with tents.

Pop-up street services were held by small groups of neighbors coming together. Doing the best they could manage with cars, cyclists, children on noisy scooters, and dog walkers coming through the random plastic chairs spread around.

  1. The sounds of prayers filled the Jerusalem streets.

In spite of COVID-19 restrictions, hundreds of cars noisily made their way to Jerusalem and to the Knesset after Yom Kippur.

After months of loud late night disturbances in Jerusalem, the black shirts were again on their way in the morning to the Knesset.

Loud, some profane, some with young children, they paraded and screamed in the midday sun. The over the top display could still be heard when after midnight the Knesset voted to limit the protesters numbers and locations to one kilometer from home. Rules the rest of the country we’re supposed to follow.

The protesters are getting more than their share of headlines and filling news feeds. COVID-19 pandemic is a global problem, the deaths tragic.

I have decided to share good things happening you might have missed.

2. The weather has cooled, colorful clouds cover the Knesset at sunset.

That bit of red is a postal truck, nice to know the mail has not stopped moving during the latest set of lockdown restrictions.

The big crane on the left is for the new National Library under construction.

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3. Building has continued all these months of pandemic.

I am fascinated by the work on the library roof structure. One day in the future I will share the progress with you.

4. The Harvest Moon was shining bright.

Mars was too far away to get a good photo of both together. However, a Blue Moon is due to appear the end of the month. Another chance.

Photo credit: GIRO PR

5. Israeli Start-Up Nation was on the front line of the Giro d’Italia.

In the international bike race, Maglia Azzurra, King of the Mountains, was Rick Zabel representing Israel in the blue uniform.

6. There are quiet spots to meet and keep your distance in Jerusalem.

Hotels are closed again with the new COVID-19 restrictions. A few had opened partially over the summer for Israeli guests.

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Photo credit: United Hatzalah spokesperson

7. Lights were visible at night at the Crowne Plaza.

The hotel had been dark every night, closed since March. Presently, United Hatzalah workers are based in the conveniently located hotel.

8. Mayor Moshe Lion said keeping Jerusalem clean is a priority.

The Jerusalem Municipality clean up trucks have become a regular sight on the Jerusalem streets. The days of furnishing your apartment with cast-offs off the street are over unless you are very quick before a truck arrives.

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Photo Credit: Jerusalem Mayor Spokesperson

9. Three Machane Yehudah Market, shuk, streets got names and signs,Ha-Tut” or “Strawberry” Street was one.

Photo credit: Jerusalem Mayor Spokesperson

Another was “Arbaat Haminim” or “Four Species” Street. The sign over a nearly deserted street which would have been packed with shoppers any other year before the Sukkot holiday.

Men looking at etrogim

Thousands of careful shoppers would have come to select their etrog and luluv and greens for their four-holiday species as in this old photo. This year the small kiosks on Jerusalem streets in various neighborhoods filled the void.

lulav sukkot

The Kotel, Western Wall would be packed with tens of thousands of people for the Sukkot holiday in the past.

Not this year. Numbers are extremely limited and distanced.

The huge Birkat Kohanim – Priestly Blessing did not happen this year.

A lone kohen did the blessing on the second day of Sukkot.

On Monday, October 5, the corona style Birkat Kohanim was recorded and put on YouTube for all to have a front-row view. HERE

10. With the impending corona restrictions, many sukkot were put up early, before Yom Kippur instead of after or last minute.

On roof tops,

and on porches,

and even our open-air sukkah for two instead of twenty was ready early.

11. Imagine, a sukkah in Dubai ready for kosher meals!

12. A sign of normal in crazy times! Cut palm branches tied to top of a car to take home for the sukkah.

This will be the year a small porch sukkah is “in” in Jerusalem.

With fabric walls up on a porch,

or tucked away in the garden.

Reuven Rivlin greets public at open house on Succos

Last year President Rivlin was surrounded by crowds of visitors for the annual Open Sukkah at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Two years ago he invited the public to the presidential sukkah that had a health theme at a press conference before Sukkot.

13. President Rivlin’s last open house as President will be virtual.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020, between 10:00 and 12:30 Israeli time – join in www.sukkot-president-science.co.il 

The broadcast will be available on Beit HaNasi’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube channels.

No need to put on shoes, stand in a long line in the hot sun to enter, or even leave your house to attend this year.

Sukka photo, Image unusual sukkah

No big public Sukkot public events in parks are to be held this year.

15. However, this mobile sukkah is to be out on our Jerusalem street.

The sound and light shows will not have hundreds of people each night.

I couldn’t decide which to share, so here are two segments from shows:

16. City of David Sound and Light Show Finale

17. Tower of David Museum Night Show on King David

18. Such clever work by talented friends Jessica and Yael!

Moadim l’simcha.

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.