During the intermediate days of Sukkot, Jerusalem really knows how to celebrate. With the children home from school until after the seven day holiday, those who have not taken off for resort areas like the Dead Sea and the Galilee have the city to themselves, and they really know how to utilize it.
The days are filled with activities for children of all ages. With seven-year-old and four-year-old grandsons in tow, we spent two days exploring ancient Israel at two very popular sites, Ein Yael and Neot Kedumim, and ended the adventure with a fun and food-filled street festival in the trendy Jerusalem neighborhoods of Baka and the German Colony.
Ein Yael is a living outdoor 12th century museum where visitors see and take part in archery demonstrations, learn about ancient handicrafts, and actually use them to make their own pottery, mosaics, baskets, and bake their own pita bread. The site houses the remains of a Roman villa in an archaeological complex dating back to the 2nd century.
Neot Kedumim is a biblical landscape reserve located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. It's a unique recreation of the physical setting of the Bible, letting visitors to see life as it was lived 3,000 years ago. It's easy to spend a whole day there, and children of all ages spend hours making their own creations from freely available materials including pine cones, carobs, corn kernels, peanuts, feathers, and dozens of other gifts that nature never intended to be turned into unusual sculpture with googly eyes and noses made out of beans.
The street festival, held last night on a major thoroughfare in Jerusalem which was closed to traffic for a half-mile, included wandering minstrels, giant puppets, and rock and reggae bands. There was plenty of food sold from makeshift stands staffed by local restaurants, all kosher of course. Also books, clothing, kitchen gadgets, toys, linens, and lots of other merchandise.
We're including a video from the festival featuring a band called Shivat Tzion. The video is a little blurry and the words may be hard to hear, but we wanted to point out that the words are Kol Mevaser, Mevaser V'Omer, an important part of the liturgy for the upcoming holiday of Hoshana Rabba which occurs this Sunday, just before Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah. Enjoy!
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)