If school has started — finally — then summer is over and it’s time to get back to the grind. There’s much to be appreciated about the start of the fall in Israel — though not necessarily the cooler weather or leaves turning colors, those markers of a European or North American autumn.

For parents, it’s that sigh of relief that the kids are finally out of their hair, at least for six hours of the day. For adults in general, there’s that sense of possibility in the start of a new year, even if school hasn’t been on their radar for some time.

We’ve assembled five picks for what to do with all the extra time now on your hands.

1) Thursday, September 6 through Friday, September 7, brings the first Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival from the Jerusalem Season of Culture, including two free concerts held on Friday, at the Notre Dame chapel. The first concert, on Friday at 9 a.m., is “Tunes of Sanctity,” featuring the Harmony Choir singing Christian music from different periods and sects, accompanied by organ music. The second concert, featuring Rana Khoury and the Tarteel Band playing Byzantine music, is at 12 p.m. Then you can head upstairs to appreciate the fabulous view from the Rooftop Cheese and Wine Bar.

A woman blowing shofar at the start of Elul (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash 90)

A woman blowing shofar at the start of Elul (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

2) At the other end of the spectrum, the close of summer brings the Hebrew month of Elul, the runup to the Jewish high holidays. A new egalitarian institute of learning, the Talpiot Yeshiva in Jerusalem, is holding an Elul program until September 24 featuring evening joint study sessions on Wednesday evenings; lessons on prayer as a method of building community on Monday evenings; and talks on how Jewish law regards egalitarian prayer on Wednesday mornings. The yeshiva is hosted by the Pardes Institute in Talpiot, 29 Pierre Koenig, corner of Rivka Street, third floor.

Were you at the museum for the kite festival? (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90)

Were you at the museum for the kite festival? (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

3) If the kids are back to school, you’ve got to make sure they’re getting enough sleep each night, otherwise they’ll be dropping off to sleep in class. Take them to the Israel Museum one afternoon after school (the museum is free over the Sukkot holiday, October 1-9) to show them the “Good Night” exhibit, a multimedia exploration of sleep. With vivid photographs, humorous videos, a variety of lullabies and an interactive room focusing on the classic “Good Night Moon” book by Margaret Wise Brown, the exhibit is an opportunity to appreciate sleep from more than one perspective.

The Klippan couch in psychedelic color (Courtesy Ikea)

The Klippan couch in psychedelic color (Courtesy Ikea)

4) If it’s a new school year, fall and the start of the holiday season, it must be time to buy some new gear. Home furnishing gear, that is. Luckily, IKEA Israel is giving some consideration to the Sabra pocket and is lowering prices by 4% for the year, taking into account the September 1% rise in VAT. It’s all in the new 2013 IKEA catalog, featuring lots of textiles, and coming soon to a mailbox near you.

Carob trees in the Jezreel Valley (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90)

Carob trees in the Jezreel Valley (photo credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90)

5) Supposedly the weather is getting slightly better and it can be a great time to head outdoors, or out of the air conditioning. Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael, KKL, has free hikes every Friday in September, you just need to sign up ahead of time at 1-800-350-550. Try Park Ramat Menashe, eucalyptus trees in Kfar Pines or the Hulda Forest. There will be free family activities on Thursday, September 13, in honor of International Cleanup Day, and carob picking in Ben Shemen Forest on Thursday, September 27 at 4 p.m.