Growing up, you might have celebrated Sukkot by going to your family, friends’, or synagogue’s sukkah, shaking the lulav and etrog, and eating outside under the stars. But if you are spending this Sukkot in Israel, there’s no reason to stay confined to your backyard—use the whole country as your sukkah! With all of the festivals going on during the chag, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities to spend time outside, exploring Israel’s cultural scene while celebrating the holiday.
Here are some of the bigger festivals going on during Sukkot:
September 26-28, 2010
Beit Hatfutsot - Diaspora Museum (on the Tel Aviv University campus) | 9:30 am-5pm daily
The theme of year’s festival is the family, family trees, Jewish culture and contemporary Jewish music, and the festival will include painting and art workshops, artistic and musical performances and fairs. All festival events (which are free) will take place inside Beit Hatfutsot as well as outside the museum, throughout the Tel Aviv campus, among an array of Sukkot designed by architects and artists from Israel and abroad. Masa Israel will have a sukkah along with the Jewish Agency, and Masa Israel participants from Budokan
will be running workshops in Krav Maga and recycling art.
September 26-29, 2010 | Acco
Probably the largest festival during Sukkot will be the 31st annual Israeli Fringe Theater Festival in Acco. The 65 shows, featuring about 300 artists from Israel and abroad, will include theater shows, street performances, cabaret shows, concerts, art fairs, exhibits and more. The festival attempts to expose the natural beauty of Acco through its outdoor shows and street plays, which will take place around the old city, historical sites and streets and the city’s port. This festival also brings together artists from various cultural backgrounds, reflecting the multicultural aspect of the city, and creates a dialogue through discussion panels and other activities.
The Rishon LeZion Festival
September 23-30, 2010 | Rishon LeZion
The 23rd annual Rishon Le Tzion Festival will take place during Chol Hamoed Sukkot between 23rd and 30th of September and will present a unique blend of classical culture with music shows and popular entertainment. The stand-out shows this year include the 50th anniversary of the musical group ‘Chickens,’ Esther Ophrim and Yoni Rechter, Eyal Golan, Yishai Levi and a new show by Shmuel Vilozni and Harel Skaat, as well as the IDF band. The festival is held in partenership with Galei Tzahal, the army radio station.
September 23-30, 2010 | Negev
Keeping with the ecological trend, Hevel Habsor offers agricultural excursions across the Negev, visiting fields and dairy production plants, as well as other site-seeing activities. There will also be bike rides and jeep rides, as well as organized tours and workshops on making cheese, harvesting olives, soap production, and more.
September 26-28, 2010 | (03) 972- 3001 | Shoham
The 10th annual Muzot Be’Sukkot Art Festival in Shoham will feature six different Sukkahs, each with a different theme and event. For example, in the Peace Sukkah, there will be a performance by Galit Giat and Hiba Bathish incorporating Israeli and Arab culture through classic songs. The Green Sukkah will promote environmental awareness through a ‘Ten Ecological Commandments” exhibit, and through a creative workshop using recycled material.
September 24-29, 2010 | (02) 623-7000 | Masada, Ein Gedi, and Nahal Zohar
For the 11th year in a row, the Tamar festival brings together many well-known Israeli and international artists, using nature as the central stage. This year features artists such as Karolina, HaYehudim, Asaf Avidan and the Mojos, and Matisyahu, sharing a stage with Balkan Beat Box. The shows will take place in areas around the Dead Sea, including the Masada archeological site, the botanical garden in Ein Gedi, and the Nahal Zohar wadi, among others.
September 27-28, 2010 | 04-9521175 | Mivtzar Yehiyam
Mivtzar Yehiyam will showcase the 18th annual Renaissance Festival, celebrating the Renaissance era through music and art that reflects the revolutionary culture of the period. Artists include musicians from Israel, Hungary, France and Germany. The festival will also feature an “artisants street” with blacksmiths, carpenters and other artisans reenacting the various occupations of the time.
September 23-30, 2010 | Haifa
The Haifa Film Festival is held on the beautiful Mount Carmel, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. The festival brings together each year an ever-growing audience of 70,000 spectators along with hundreds of Israeli and foreign professionals from the film and television industries and premiers some 170 new films (270 screenings). 250,000 people in total take part in the activities of the festival, including the outdoor events, screenings, workshops and more, and dozens of journalists from both the print and broadcast media, from Israel and abroad, cover the event.
In addition to the variety of events going on throughout the country, Sukkot is traditionally one of the three times each year Jews would make a pilgrimage to the Temple. This this is still practiced, to an extent, with people coming to Israel from all over the world to visit the Western Wall, so head over to the Kotel during the chag for another only-in-Israel experience.
What else will you be doing over Sukkot?