Sukkot in Jerusalem


We are in Jerusalem at an especially meaningful time of the year.  The Jewish High Holy Days have passed and the holiday of Sukkot is coming to an end tomorrow (has lasted 8 days) and the culmination will be a holiday called Simchat Torah, that ends the cycle of reading the torah.  Sukkot has always been one of my favorite holidays since childhood.  The holiday celebrates harvest time and people build a temporary structure called a sukkah which simulates the huts the Jewish people lived in when they wandered in the desert after leaving Egypt in biblical times.  Families eat all their meals in the sukkah and often sleep in them as well.  Sukkot is also one of three pilgrimage holidays in the Jewish calendar:  Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.  Pilgrimage was made to Jerusalem to the ancient temple.

These are some of the sukkot (huts) on the balconies and on the street.  If people don't have a balcony their sukkah is in front and everyone has a designated spot.  Our kids have a prime spot because the man who owns the apartment had a designated spot that they inherited with the apartment.
These are some of the sukkot (huts) on the balconies and on the street. If people don’t have a balcony their sukkah is in front and everyone has a designated spot. Our kids have a prime spot because the man who owns the apartment had a designated spot that they inherited with the apartment.
Close up of one of the apartment buildings.  One must be able to see the sky through branches on the top so one can't be built under an overhang.  Some are decorated elaborately inside.  The one we had dinner in last night had chandeliers.
Close up of one of the apartment buildings. One must be able to see the sky through branches on the top so one can’t be built under an overhang. Some are decorated elaborately inside. The one we had dinner in last night had chandeliers.
If restaurants want business during the week of Sukkot they must have a sukkah for people to be served in as all meals must be eaten in the sukkah.  This one is at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and it's inside but they have a glass roof so it "counts."
If restaurants want business during the week of Sukkot they must have a sukkah for people to be served in as all meals must be eaten in the sukkah. This one is at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and it’s inside but they have a glass roof so it “counts.”
This period of time from New Years (Rosh Hashana) to Simchat Torah (beginning tomorrow) is a long vacation period in Israel for adults and children so the old city is particularly crowded.
This period of time from New Years (Rosh Hashana) to Simchat Torah (beginning tomorrow) is a long vacation period in Israel for adults and children so the old city is particularly crowded.
Alley in the old city of Jerusalem.
Alley in the old city of Jerusalem.
Since this is a pilgrimage holiday a special blessing is recited at the Western Wall called the Birkat Ko'hanim (priestly blessing) and we were there for it.  We were in an apartment that overlooks the Western Wall and you can also see the Temple Mount behind it.  The Western Wall is the holiest site for Jews.
Since this is a pilgrimage holiday a special blessing is recited at the Western Wall called the Birkat Ko’hanim (priestly blessing) and we were there for it. We were in an apartment that overlooks the Western Wall and you can also see the Temple Mount behind it. The Western Wall is the holiest site for Jews.
In this close up you might be able to make out the line of people covered in prayer shawls closest to the wall.  They are facing the people assembled and offering the special blessing.
In this close up you might be able to make out the line of people covered in prayer shawls closest to the wall. They are facing the people assembled and offering the special blessing.

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