A ‘Feast’ of Events during Sukkot

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Israeli soldiers stand outside a Sukkah at the Gush Etzion junction on October 14, 2016. (Photo by Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Whether you are visiting or even if you live in Israel, you may not be aware of the variety of events going on during the week of Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles. We have compiled a list of activities for families with children, music lovers, for those who appreciate arts and crafts and those who would like to experience more of Israel outside the celebrations at the Pais Arena in Jerusalem.

From the Galilee (Chocolate Festival, Open Backyards), to Tel Aviv (Yad Aman, Greek Market), to Jerusalem (Ein Karem open houses & music), here is a sampling of events around the country.

Ready? Let’s go!

NORTH

Nazareth Illit (The Jewish city)

1st Chocolate Festival
Where: MUL HARIM Mall 1 HaGilboa St.
When: Oct. 18-19

About: Featuring Israeli children’s television singers (Hebrew secular), Nazareth Illit’s mayor wishes to organize the biggest and first Chocolate Festival in his city during the 60th anniversary of the city since the city is home to the largest chocolate manufacturer in Israel. The main venue is the New Mall, but activities will take place throughout the city, including a sukkah made of chocolate and Hansel & Gretel’s chocolate house, among other activities for children.

Price and details: Free admission – ongoing updates here.

Binyamina-Givat Ada

16th Hatzerot HaYotzrim (Artists Backyards)
Where: The houses of 80 local artists.
When: Oct. 19-21

About: Eighty local artists will display their works in their own backyards where you will also be able to purchase their works. Arts include paintings, sculptures and other crafts. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the people in their own creative atmosphere as well as to get to know a very picturesque place.

Price and details: Free admission – click for details here.

Jezreel Valley

The Valley Train – RAKEVET HAEMEK
Where: The train stations in Haifa, Afula, Yokneam, Kfar Yeshua and more.
When: Already operating from Oct. 16

About: Sixty five years after being closed, the legendary Rakevet HaEmek, The Valley Train, returns to operate, linking Haifa to the Jezreel Valley, with stops including Afula, Kfar Yeshua, Beit Shean, Kfar Baruch, Migdal Haemek. The new railroad was built parallel to the historic one, so when you travel on the train, you can see where it once was.

Prices and details: FREE from Haifa to the Valley destinations; Paid (one way) until Haifa. Click here for more details on the official Israeli Railroad website.

Haifa

32nd International Film Festival
Where: Haifa Cinemateque, 138-142 Hanassi Blvd.
When: Oct. 15-24

About: Featuring up to 200 movies from all over the world, including 85 of them new Israeli films and others from countries such as Argentina, Austria, Australia and even Iran, Indonesia, Algeria, Thailand, Qatar, Croatia, and the Czech Republic among many others. From features to short films, animation to documentaries, there is a movie for every taste and a chance to meet directors and producers from Israel and other countries. The event includes many free events for children, musical concerts featuring famous Israeli singers, tours through the capital of the North for those who have interest in food, architecture and more. Other activities are an open screening under the stars and the “Strongest Man” international competition.

Prices and details: Some events are free; others are paid. Click here for more details on the Festival Website.

Akko

37th International Fringe Theatre Festival
Where: Akko Theater and the Old City streets, for the Open Air shows.
When: Oct. 17-20

About: Alternative and independent theater companies, from Israel and abroad. One Israeli plays features Hebrew and Arabic. Venues are located in Acco’s Old City, including ancient Knights’ Hall, The Arches Cave, as well as on the local streets.

Price and details: mostly free admission. Click here for more details.

CENTER

Tel Aviv–Jaffa

Concert with believers in Yeshua: MAAGAL SHIRAT HALEV (Songs from the Heart Circle) with Bela Eezegayev and Yuval Mezamer Tov
Where: Yad Aman Music Space, 38 Itzhak Sadeh Tel Aviv
When: Oct. 20

About: Beautiful, soulful music featuring also guest local Messianic artists Shai Sol Hever, Daniela Dabash and Yariv Ben Yehuda.

Prices and details: Free admission. For more details contact Shai Sol, Yad Aman’s director.

The Greek Market
Where: Ben Pirchiah St, Jaffa, Tel Aviv
When: Oct. 18-21

About: Local artists, mainly from Tel Aviv area, will display and sell their works. Also in The Greek Market: art exhibition, music concerts with Israeli bands and singers, as well as a guest musician from Bolivia.

Price and details: Free admission. You will be able to purchase local arts and crafts. Click here for more details.

Jerusalem

Since The City of Peace is THE Center of Sukkot celebrations, many events are taking place here from premier film screenings to an Ethiopian cultural event, from Christian and local Messianic Jewish gatherings to general music concerts.

Here are a few of them:

International Christian Embassy Feast of Tabernacles 
Where: Pais Arena
When: Oct. 17-20

About: Worship, preaching, the Nations’ Parade, Israeli Guest Night (Oct. 19). Delegations from all over the world converge in Jerusalem for this event, organized by the International Christian Embassy for more than 30 years. The Israeli Guest Night features powerful praise and worship leaders.

Prices and details: For locals, free admission. “Come early to secure your seat,” according to the event’s Facebook page. Doors open at 6:30PM on Oct. 19. Go to the ICEJ website for details about other evenings. 

16th Vision For Israel Sukkot Celebration 2016
Where: The Pavillion, Clal Hall, 97 Jaffa Street.
When: Oct. 18-20

About: Sukkot Celebration within a Jewish context, Bible teachings and praise and worship with local and international leaders, organized by Messianic Jewish leaders Barry and Batya Segal of “Vision for Israel.” Barry and Batya felt the need to establish a more deep connection between Israelis and believers in Yeshua from all over the world.

Prices and details: $100 for the full conference. $15 for one day or $25 for one evening session. Click here for more details.

Jerusalem March
Where: Beginning in Sacher Park, Hillel Street, King David Street, ending at the First Station in the German Colony
When: Oct. 20

About: A colorful, joyous event, which happens every year during Hol HaMoed Sukkot, for 61 years, The March attracts participants, such as Israeli families and companies, as well as Jews and Christians from all over the world. It is always encouraging and touching to see the delegations from many nations carrying banners stating that they Stand With Israel. The March has three different starting points and levels of difficulty: High, Medium and Easy for families, ending at the Sacher Park.

In addition, there is the Festive Rout, taking the marchers through the streets of downtown Jerusalem, and ending at The First Station. The Jerusalem Municipality, which organizes and sponsors the March, is preparing activities for children in the Park.

Price and details: Free to watch along parade route. For more details 02.545.7639, extension 106.

Film MEKONEN: The Journey of an African Jew – Jerusalem Premiere
Where: Yes Planet Cinema, Jerusalem
When: Oct. 18

About: If you are interested in learning more about the Ethiopian Jews, there are two events. The first is a film that follows the personal journey of Lieutenant Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew who we first met as an IDF recruit in “Beneath the Helmet.” In this new film, we follow his return to Ethiopia for the first time since his arrival in Israel as a 12-year-old boy. (Hebrew – Secular)

Price and Details: Admission ONLY by RSVP via the website.

YERUSSALMEI – Ethiopian Jewry Culture
Where: Ganim Center, 7 Dahumei St. Jerusalem.
When: Oct. 20

About: Ethiopian Culture, including typical story-telling, culinary fair, music, arts and crafts made by Ethiopian Jews. (Hebrew-Amharic-secular)

Price and details: FREE admission. More details 02-644.1888

Ein Kerem Festival
Where: Throughout Ein Kerem neighborhood, Jerusalem
When: Oct. 19-21

About: Music and arts festival, including including food, arts and crafts, open houses and walks through the beautiful streets of the picturesque neighborhood. Also featuring a performance by an internationally known band from the country of Georgia. If you wish to meet people directly and in a more personal way, the festival includes open houses, where Ein Karem residents open their homes and serve food and wine along with sharing stories about the neighborhood.

Price and details: Free admission. Click here for more details.

Annual Kite Festival
Where: Israel Museum, Jerusalem
When: Oct. 18

About: Workshops for making kites, ideal for children and kite flying, featuring kite experts.

Prices and details: Entrance free, kite making workshop 30-40 shekels. Click here fore details.

The number of events around the country is very extensive, we’ve compiled here a few of our favorites. Enjoy and Happy Sukkot!

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Rachel (Rachely) Scapa, studied journalism at the Open University TLV under Yedioth Aharonoth's journalist Dudi Goldman. Rachel served as news correspondent for various radio stations abroad, including BBC 3 Counties and Voice of America, both in English and Portuguese, giving the best reports from Israel. Currently she has two radio shows - one in Portuguese, which she has had for more than 13 years, presenting News from Israel and the ME. In the other, in Hebrew, she presents Brazilian music, on an Israeli radio station. Rachely is also a columnist for a Christian newspaper in Brazil, distributed over the triple border between Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.