6 reasons to come to Israel for Sukkot 2016

By Deena Levenstein
Thank you to all the tour guides who helped me with this post!

etrogs by deena levenstein
Etrogs, one of the four species

It’s currently the holiday of Sukkot for Jews around the world. Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, is the holiday when Jews build temporary structures like these:

By Effi B.
By Effi B.

And live in them, or at the very least, eat and possibly sleep in them, for seven days.

If you’ve never been to Israel for Sukkot, you may not realize how much fun there is to be had throughout the holiday here. And so I’ll give you some examples of things you can do during Sukkot in Israel:

1. Get blessed at the Western Wall

The priestly blessing at the Western Wall

One morning every Sukkot (and Passover), tens of thousands congregate in the Western Wall plaza to receive the traditional blessing from hundreds of priests. This is a powerful religious experience not to be had anywhere else or at any other time. Definitely worth experiencing at least once in a lifetime.

Photo from
Photo from

2. Fly a kite at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

The Kite Festival at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

For thirty years the Israel Museum has been hosting the beautiful kite festival. You first get to build your own kite and then you get to fly it. The festival takes place in the museum’s picturesque art garden.

Photo by Barak Aharon
Photo by Barak Aharon

More about the Kite Festival

3. Hear beautiful vocal music in Abu Gosh

The Abu Gosh Festival

The Abu Gosh Festival is Israel’s leading vocal music event. It takes place for a few days every Passover and Sukkot in the Abu Gosh village just outside Jerusalem in the Crusader-Benedictine Church and the Kiryat Ye’arim Church.

Photo by Dani Arad
Photo by Dani Arad

More about the Abu Gosh Festival

4. Hear amazing concerts while overlooking the Dead Sea

The Tamar Festival

The Tamar Festival is a five day celebration of Israeli music through special and unique musical combinations in scenic natural surroundings. The event is spread over various locations in the Judean Desert at different times of day including a sunrise concert on Masada.

Photo from Facebook page
Photo from Facebook page

More about the Tamar Festival

5. Reconnect with yourself in a desert ashram

The Zorba the Buddha Festival at the Desert Ashram

Take part in the big Zorba celebration – four days of workshops, concerts, parties, and amazing people, all surrounded by the beauty of the desert.

zorba the buddha festival
Photo from Facebook page

More about Zorba the Buddha

6. Watch hot air balloons take flight

The Hot Air Balloon Festival, Maayan Harod, the Gilboa Region

On Tuesday arrive and set up camp. Enjoy lots of activities for kids and at 10 pm watch the balloons being inflated accompanied by music. At 11 pm is a huge firework display.

At 5:30 am on Wednesday the balloons take off. See beautiful hot air balloons from around the world fly above in the Israel skies.

Photo from Facebook page
Photo from Facebook page

See some beautiful photos here

This is truly only a small fraction of the dozens and dozens of events and festivals that take place throughout the week of Sukkot in Israel. There is nothing like the holidays in Israel and now is a perfect time to talk to us about booking your completely customized tour to Israel for Sukkot 2016 (which begins October 16).


Deena Levenstein

Deena Levenstein is a writer and social-cultural entrepreneur in Jerusalem. She creates and hosts events and runs "Things to do in Jerusalem," a Facebook group of handpicked cultural events in the city. In her spare time she blogs at

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