What are you in the mood for this Sukkot? Maybe a day out in the valley picking olives with Jews and Arabs? Or an art event in Ein Karem or downtown? Or how about extreme sports while overlooking the Old City? Or moving to the rhythm of all the free concerts? 

There are hundreds of events taking place in Jerusalem this Sukkot (October 17-23, 2016) and so we went through them and created a list of the coolest, most unique and the least-shared events we could find. We really hope you’ll enjoy and make it to some of these local gems!

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Multiple-day events

First, here are some really cool events that are happening over the course of a few days during the intermediate days of Sukkot:

1. Workshops at HaMiffal

HaMiffal is a collective art project in a beautiful, old abandoned building hidden in an alleyway. When you go, be sure to explore the building and courtyard and participate in the workshops which will be led by some of the project artists.

1a. Tuesday’s workshops: Sukkah and accessory decorations, clay, mini sukkah modeling, tightrope walking

1b. Wednesday’s workshops: Straw weaving, music, compost, mini sukkah modeling

Tues-Wed, Oct. 18-19, 11am-3pm
3 Hamaaravim St., behind the Waldorf Astoria
Free entrance (most activities are free)
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2. Creating from the Heart for the Community – a Fair

Around 30 organizations who employ special-needs workers will be displaying and selling their products and services to the public at Mamilla. On Tuesday enjoy a performance by The Sixth Sense, a visually-impaired band. On Wednesday “Jerusalem Wheels” will perform a dance in wheelchairs. This fair is produced by Mizrahi Bank.

Tues-Wed, Oct. 18-19, 4:30-10pm
Performance times: 7pm, 8pm.
Mamilla Mall
Free entrance

3. Harvesting olives with Jews and Arabs – This event might be happening. Be in touch with the organizer for information.

Eat a quick breakfast, pick olives in an orchard with around 700 olive trees, enjoy a light lunch of fruit, vegetables and hummus and continue working until 2 or 3pm. The olives are pressed in Bethlehem and the oil is given to needy Arab and Jewish families as well as to organizations.

Don’t forget sun screen, a hat and water.

Tues-Thurs, Oct. 21-30, 8am-2 or 3pm
Emek Tzurim National Park
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4. Belated Oktoberfest

Chill out in the large Jerusalem Oktoberfest tent, enjoying German and Bavarian food stalls, excellent beers at discounted prices and live music and DJs every evening.

Tues-Thurs, Oct. 18-20, 5-11pm
Fri, Oct. 21 10am-3pm
The First Station, 4 David Remez St.
Free entrance

5. Extreme sports complex

The Jerusalem Development Authority is opening an extreme sports complex in the beautiful valley next to the Old City from the first day of the intermediate days (chol hamoed) until the end of October. Activities include climbing, rappelling, bungee jumping and a zip line.

Oct. 18-31, 10am-5pm
Gey Ben Hinom (Ben Hinom Valley)
Adults: 15NIS
Children: 10NIS
Family ticket: 70NIS

6. Art Inspired by a Jerusalem View

Lenore Mizrachi-Cohen preparing artwork for the exhibition

Lenore Mizrachi-Cohen preparing artwork for the exhibition

In the weeks before Sukkot, 12 artists were invited to create works inspired by Jerusalem’s breathtaking views standing by the windows and on the balconies of the Boutique Hanvi’im Project. Head up to the penthouse to be inspired by the views and the art. This event is in collaboration with the Jerusalem Biennale for Contemporary Jewish Art.

Tues-Thurs, Oct. 18-20, 10am-7pm
6a. Tues at 5:30pm Jerusalem Biennale founder and director Ram Ozeri will speak in English about the third Biennale taking place October-November 2017.
Boutique Hanvi’im, 25 Hanvi’im St., the penthouse
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7. The Courtyard Festival


Credit: Dudi Saad

Over the intermediate days (chol hamoed) of Sukkot, the Courtyard Festival (website is in Hebrew) will commemorate 500 years since the creation of the Venice Ghetto. The theme of the festival is “courtyards” (חצרות) and many events are taking place in a couple dozen cultural institutions around the city.

The one-day events we’ve chosen to include in this listing are mentioned by date below. Here are some multiple-day events of note:

7a. Tues-Fri, Oct. 18-21
The Terra Sancta Museum is participating in the festival and is open October 18-21. The entrance is a beautiful courtyard and the museum tells the story of the history of Christianity in Israel using archaeology and multimedia. Update: Entrance is 15NIS.

7b. Tues-Thurs, Oct. 18-20
The Musrara Art School (9 Ha’ayin Het St.) is offering old-fashioned dark room photography workshops and gallery tours. Workshops are 2-4pm every day, 30NIS. Read more (Hebrew). Advanced registeration for workshops is required: 02-628-6519

7c. Tues-Wed, Oct. 18-19
On Tuesday participate in a wooden light fixture workshop and on Wednesday a print on material workshop. Workshops are taking place at Beita (155 Yaffo St.) and are 120NIS. Read more (Hebrew). Register: 02-595-3346, beitajerusalem@gmail.com.

8. Courtyard Festival @ the Italian Jewish Art Museum

Of major note is the part of the U. Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art Museum in the Courtyard Festival. They are opening a new exhibition and hosting three days of concerts:

8a. Tues, Oct. 18
A new exhibition in honor of the quincentennial opens on Tuesday October 18 2016 at the Museum of Italian Jewish Art.

8b. Tues, Oct. 18
In the courtyard

7pm Italian and Spanish music from the 16th and 17th centuries will be performed by Hortus Musicus, an Estonian ensemble that specializes in performing early music. At 8pm classic Italian opera will be performed by the Israeli Opera.
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8c. Wed, Oct. 19
In the Painted Hall

Hortus Musicus performs German, Arabic and Jewish music from the 16th century.

8d. Thurs, Oct. 20
In the synagogue
Hortus Musicus performs 17th century Sephardi and Italian synagogue music.
50 NIS

The Italian Museum of Jewish Art, 25 Hillel St.

9. A community sukkah in Rehavia

For the third time in a row, a group of people in Rehavia in cooperation with the Secular Yeshiva are opening up their sukkah to the public with rich programming almost every evening including lectures, concerts, jam sessions, a movie screening, yoga, workshops, a Shabbat dinner and a chag dinner.

Oct. 17-23
17 Ibn Shaprut St.
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10. Ein Karem Festival

This is the fourth year of the Ein Karem Festival on Sukkot. Thursday is the main event though every day has what to offer with music, activities, tours, open houses, food and more.

10a. Wed, Oct. 19, 1-7pm
A traditional Sukkot celebration (Simchat Beit Hasho’eva) in Kfar Hateimanim with small concerts and workshops for kids.

10b. Thurs, Oct. 20, 6-11pm
Along Hama’ayan St.
Two stages will hold concerts by a list of fascinating bands and musicians playing different types of world music. There will also be live music at Beit Hagat (the wine press), the alleyway of the Les Soeurs De Sion Monastery and at the Church of St. John (vocal music from the Middle Ages). A wine festival will take place at the Spring Orchard (Bustan Hama’ayan) with live music in beautiful surroundings.

10c. Thurs, Oct. 20, 4-6pm
Before the festival do some house-hopping in the village – visit the beautiful homes and galleries opened for visitors. See the complete program (in Hebrew) here.

10d. Thurs, Oct. 20, 6pm-12am
27 Ein Karem St.
Bet Hagat, a center of arts, culture and thought is having its official opening on Thursday with a night-time journey between contemporary art, sound, light, video and performance. The works of 20 artists will be set up in the picturesque orchards as well as in the ancient spaces of the estate.

10e. Fri, Oct. 21, 9am-2pm
Along Hama’ayan St.
A paleo food fair, live music and and art fair

There are shuttles all three days of the festival:
Wednesday, 12:30-7:30pm: Between Mount Herzl and the community garden in Ein Karem
Thursday, 5:30-11:30pm: between Mount Herzl and the main parking lot in Ein Karem; between the Ein Kerem Agricultural School (for those coming from the Castel and Mevaseret Zion) and the main parking lot in Ein Karem

Tuesday October 18 2016:

11. Home Movie Day

At this adorable event, sit in the theater at the Cinematheque and watch people’s old home videos (8mm, super 8 and 16mm) accompanied by live music.

Tues Oct. 18, 7pm
Jerusalem Cinematheque, 11 Derech Hebron

12. The 31st Kite-Flying Festival

Photo by Ido Sapir

Photo by Ido Sapir

Let’s go fly a kite. Build your own kite at the kite workshop and then participate in the kite-flying event with giant kites in the Art Garden with experienced kite-fliers.

Tues, Oct. 18
Kite-making workshops: 10:30am-6pm, 30-40NIS
Kite-flying in the garden: 4-7pm
Free entrance for children up to age 17
Info about all Sukkot activities at the Israel Museum

13. Cochin Women’s choir performance

The “Nevatim Women’s Choir – Cochin Women” will be giving a one hour performance in the exhibition halls in Heichal Shlomo. Moshav Nevatim is a moshav in the Negev founded by Cochin Jews, Jews from south India.

Tues, Oct. 18, 4:30pm
Heichal Shlomo, 58 King George St.
Part of the Courtyard Festival (read above)


14. Leona performance and talk

Leona, a dance performance, is having a sneak preview performance on Sukkot at the New Teddy Gallery Artists’ Studios at Teddy Stadium. Following the performance is a gallery talk in Hebrew with the choreographer and the curator and artists of the current exhibition.

Tues, Oct. 18, 7-10pm
The New Teddy Gallery Artists’ Studios, Teddy Stadium, gate 22
Entrance seems to be free
Part of the Courtyard Festival (read above)


15. Mekonen: The Journey of an African Jew – SOLD OUT

In this Jerusalem Premiere follow the personal journey of Lt. Mekonen Abebe, a young African-Israeli Jew who returns to Ethiopia for the first time since his arrival in Israel as a 12 year old boy.

Tues, Oct. 18, 7:30pm
Yes Planet Jerusalem, 4 Neomi St.
Tickets: $36
Advance purchase required here

16. Swing party

Join a basic swing dance lesson (8pm), enjoy a concert with Floy Joy Swing Band (9pm) and then dance the night away with DJ Eat Thai (10:30pm).

Tues, Oct. 18, 8pm
Nocturno, 7 Bezalel St.

17. The Malfoof Collective

The Malfoof Collective is a unique musical group that brings together folkloric musical traditions with modern production techniques. The result is a melting pot of hundreds of years of texts, languages, musical instruments and electronic modern sounds.

Tues, Oct. 18, 9pm
Kikar Hamusica, Nakhman Square, 10 Yoel Salomon St.
Free entrance

Wednesday October 19 2016:

18. Birkat Hakohanim – the Priestly Blessing

Twice a year, a huge priestly blessing takes place at the Western Wall. This is a unique event, worth experiencing at least once. Be prepared to be standing with thousands of people – bring a hat and water and dress appropriately for this holy site.

Wed, Oct. 19
8:45am: shacharit prayer
9:30am: birkat kohanim of shacharit
10:15am: mussaf prayer
10:30am: birkat kohanim of mussaf
More info

19. Lecture & sound performance

Hear a lecture by Dr. Vladimir Levin from the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University about the central role of the synagogue courtyard in eastern European communities. Following the lecture is a sound performance that integrates the dropping of experimental instruments.

Wed, Oct. 19, 7pm
Agripas 12 Gallery, 12 Agripas St.
Part of the Courtyard Festival (read above)


Thursday October 20 2016:

20. Jerusalem March


It has become a tradition for thousands of Christians from around 80 countries to participate in the festive afternoon march alongside representatives from many Israeli organizations in Jerusalem during the holiday of Sukkot. They march waving their flags, wearing traditional dress and holding banners showing their love for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. They are also known to give out many presents such as flags, candies and trinkets from back home.

Stand along Bezalel, Hillel or King David street to wave to the pilgrims as they march by.

For something really special, join the “Cookies for Christians” group under the large mural on Bezalel St. (Gerard Behar, 11 Bezalel St.) to give out cookies to the marchers to show appreciation for their support.

Thurs, Oct. 20, from around 3:30pm
Starts at Sacher Park, goes along Bezalel St., Hillel St. and King David St. and ends at the First Station
More info
More info

21. Yerusalemei – Ethiopian Cultural Festival 

This neighborhood event at the community center is an opportunity to gain exposure to the foods, music, art and culture of the Ethiopian community.

Thurs, Oct. 20, 5-9pm
Ganim Community Center, 7 Dahomey St., Kiryat Menachem

22. Nachlaot Gallery Tour

This 2.5 hour tour gallery tour with Jenna Romano of “Contemporary Art in Jerusalem” is an opportunity to visit a number of galleries and exhibitions in Nachlaot and the city center, learning about the art scene in Jerusalem and speaking to professionals about the “behind the scenes” along the way.

Thurs, Oct. 20, 5pm
Meeting spot: Barbur Gallery, 6 Shirizli St.
Register here

23. The legacy of Siberian Jews

A lecture in Hebrew by Dr. Anna Berezina from the Center for Jewish Art at the Hebrew University.

Thurs, Oct. 20, 6pm
House of Quality, 12 Derech Hebron
Part of the Courtyard Festival (read above)


24. “Collective Jerusalem” tour

A tour in Hebrew about the evolution of the art community in Jerusalem. Meet artists, visit shared galleries and learn why there is more space for community work in Jerusalem than in other places in Israel and around the world.

Thurs, Oct. 20, 10am
Meeting point: Clal Building, 97 Yaffo St.

Friday October 21 2016:

25. Adamahi Conference – free day

9am-1pm: See real-time creations throughout the Clal building using a myriad techniques by the best earth-builders in the country.

10am-2pm: Create with earth in the round sukkah

10am: A tour of earth in a building of concrete

Fri, Oct. 21
Hamirepeset, Clal Building, 97 Yaffo St.

26. Friday night Wine & Cheese

Unlimited wine, one serving of cheese.

Fri, Oct. 21, 7-10pm
R&R Wine & Spirits, 3 Yannai St.

27. Pottery in the Garden

Pottery in the Garden: Artisanal Work from Beit Jimal Monastery

At the Sunbula garden see the exquisite pottery by the Sisters of Bethlehem from Beit Jimal Monastery – hand-painted bowls, plates, cups, vases and more.

Sat, Oct. 22, 1-6pm
Sunbula, 15 Nablus Road
Free entrance

FYI: Find out about traffic arrangements over Sukkot here and get more info about events for families here.

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Chag sameach!!