The Person Behind The Posts

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Obligatory First-Sukkot-in-Israel Photo Blog

It's just before Sukkot begins in Israel.  There's an energy, a happiness, that I'm feeling that is unique to this place.

Sukkot is visually overwhelming in Israel.  Whether you live here or are visiting for the chag, it's utterly impossible to fail to notice that Sukkot is coming.

On the way to ulpan yesterday morning, I started taking pictures to document what it looks like here.  In the 10 minutes between getting off one bus and getting on another, I was already overwhelmed with images.

For those already here, these images will be familiar.  For those of you not yet here, consider this a preview.

All over the streets of Jerusalem are stores and stands of all kinds selling all things Sukkot.

This was a couple with a modest stand of decorations setting up early in the morning on King George.
This one was in the Geula section of Jerusalem.  By 3 PM, the street was wall-to-wall people.  There were even women out in the streets :-)

I took this from across the street, so it may be hard to identify, but there is a huge pile of palm leaves for schach for sale (look between the cars).

Meah Shearim is a center of pre-Sukkot sales activity.
Geula is a very close competitor.
Seriously, the signs are everywhere.
Hauling schach home the old-fashioned way.
Hauling schach home the modern way.

WOW!  The largest etrog I've ever seen!!
A shop selling cots for those who want to sleep in the sukkah.

Carefully selecting each of the arb'ah (4) minim separately.

Iconic shot of religious men examining the minim.
Posters at the bus stop advertising a trip to Hevron and Kever Rachel for Chol HaMo'ed, (the intermediate days of the festival).
How can you not love a country whose buses wish you a joyous holiday (Moadim L'Simcha) in the language of your people?
Even the department store window wishes Am Yisrael a Chag Sameach.
Closer to Home, this is the welcoming entrance to our very first sukkah in Israel.
This is Gilad, our sukkah engineer.  The winds here are very strong, so the sukkah Gilad built for us will stand up to gale force winds.  Don't you just love a guy who cleans up after himself?

Our fabulous sukkah decorating team.  We paid extra to hire the apple queen this year.
Hard at the kind of creative work at which she excels.
You can't really feel it without being here, but this is a sense of the sukkah, just before the people, the food and the holiness of the holiday descend.
     What Daniel Gordis says is true.  In other places, Jews observe Sukkot.  

     In Israel, it is Sukkot.


Barbara R. said...

One of the things I enjoy most about living in Israel is that for every chag EVERYONE says Chag Samaech to drivers, supermarket checkers, bus strangers. Every chag is the same.
And then there is Shabbat when EVERYONE says Shabbat Shalom!!
What a cool country in which to live!!

Sol said...

You also forgot to mention how awesome it is to only have one day of chag so you can actually enjoy it and not feel like it is a burden.

Alyss said...

I first came across this post a couple months ago, during sukkot when I was looking for more information on the festival. Just now, I linked to this post in my blog. I reference your quote at the very bottom of this post where you say that elsewhere Jews celebrate sukkot, but in Israel it is sukkot. I am not a Jew, but I know about celebrating holidays that are part of the cultural majority and celebrating holidays that are not. Both are special in a way, but it is nice to be a part of the bigger cultural picture, isn't it? :)