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,


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,


smiling well-wishers,

singers and dancers

graceful dancers,


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.


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.


music at Kraft Stadium

Kraft Stadium was also the scene of hundreds of people

with live music and dancing.

10. Finally, the popular 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.

President Peres Open Sukkah in Jerusalem

There is just too much to do in Jerusalem, Israel, during Sukkot.

Every year on Chol Hamoed the President has an “Open Sukkah” 

and the public is invited inside Beit Hanassi, 

the grounds of the official residence of President of Israel.

Elmo poses for photo

This year, a giant Elmo welcomed guests near the front gate, 

Sign for Open sukkah, Garden of Beit Hanasi

then they walked past this sign near the busts of Israel’s former presidents.

The theme this year was on eating healthy.

Plain sukkah in garden

While the President’s sukkah is plain white on the outside,

special sukkah photo, image sukkah, picture sukkah at Israel president's house

it is always very colorful inside.

People come to see

image president Israel, photos Shimon Peres, picture President.

President Shimon Peres, 

dancers photo, image performers

and also to enjoy the free entertainment.

Open sukkah with President Shimon Peres

The President joined in and played the tambourine during a song.

President Shimon Peres

One guest actually got to shake hands with President Peres

and Health Minister MK Yael German,

but he did not spend much time mingling with the crowd.

Cirtoens photo

Most were just happy to finally get in to the gardens.

Sukkot crowds in Jerusalem, Israel

When I left, the line was as far as one could see.

There were other events and sukkot to visit,

The Jerusalem March amazing photos will have to wait.

Now it is time to get ready for Simhat Torah 

and more singing and dancing in the Jerusalem, Israel streets.

photo chief Chazan Israel army

Hazan Shai Abramson started the President’s Open Sukkah

program with a song of the prayer “Shehecheyanu,”

hope you enjoy it to get into the holiday mood.

Moedim l’simha and chag sameach!

Jerusalem Parade Day

While many people went North or overseas for the holiday week,

  on Wednesday, September 28, Gan Sacher, Sacher Park, filled with thousands of people.

Large crowds enjoyed the children’s entertainment,

as groups waited for hours in the heat to march in the Jerusalem Parade.

  Banners and flags were everywhere.

The  park was a busy place,

and so was the parade route, with enthusiastic crowds waving flags and singing.

Firetrucks with balloons

and police dogs were among the first of many service and military groups that led the parade.

 The new light rail train was on display on Jaffa Street, in contrast to

modes of transportation from old

and even older eras.

International groups

from Australia to

 the United States,

from Papua New Guinea

and Russia,


and Taiwan, were among those that marched.

Many groups were singing, haveinu shalom aleichem,  bringing greetings of peace,

  women from the Philippines were dancing.

After groups with colorful flags and I Love Israel tee shirts,

still many more were waiting in the park to join the parade.

There was extra security and roads were closed,

but there was more than one way

to get around.

Despite the oppressive heat, the positive energy and party atmosphere was impressive.

 Sukkot celebrations in Jerusalem returned to the city center,

 but as usual, the resulting massive traffic tie-ups were the topic of conversation for days.