Outside of the sukkah, festivals of every kind abound in Israel

An array of musical, theatrical, artistic, culinary and historical events livens up the country during Sukkot 5784

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

Performing at Apollonia Park during Sukkot 2023 (Courtesy Mano Grinspan)
Performing at Apollonia Park during Sukkot 2023 (Courtesy Mano Grinspan)

As Israelis prepare for Sukkot beginning Friday night, constructing temporary huts in their yards, on their balconies and in their parking spaces, many cities, towns and heritage sites are preparing their own celebrations to mark the weeklong festival.

There are culinary gatherings and musical performances, art exhibits, craft workshops and tours of every kind. We’ve gathered a selection of activities and events taking place north to south, east to west and everywhere in between.

In Herzliya, it’s Stars in the Sky, October 1-5, five days of performances and activities at Herzliya Park, including concerts from the Durbanim and another one with Noga Erez. There’s also Octoberfest taking place October 2-3, with more than 30 beers from Israel and the globe on hand.

Down south, there’s a range of events, with Sukkot for Thought in Sderot — a festival of theater, circus acts and food stands, including artisanal products made in the surrounding Gaza border communities, on October 1-2, Azrieli Boulevard, Sderot.

Beersheba’s Carasso Science Park is hosting the Medalaat (Hebrew word play on science and gourds) festival about science and gourds, October 1-5, tracing the connections between the two and with activities throughout each day.

Down in the desert, Kfar Hanokdim will host camel feeding and scorpion tours among other desert activities, along with musical performances during its October 1-4 Desert Nomads festival, for guests staying in the desert facility’s rooms and tents.

The ‘Medalaat’ Festival at Beersheba’s Carasso Park during Sukkot 2023 (Courtesy Carasso Park)

Over in the neighboring town of Arad, October 1-5 brings open studios with ceramicists, glass artists and other artisans along the streets of Arad.

In Tel Aviv, the Art Fest event at the Amiad Center in Jaffa’s Shuk Hapishpushim will host exhibits, art workshops, performance art and open studios through October 14.

Nearby Holon will hold the Goods of the Land Festival, October 3-4, a free culinary and cultural celebration of products from the Negev and Galilee hosted on the extensive grounds of Mikve Yisrael, the historic agricultural boarding school.

Food stands will include wines and cheeses from the two regions, along with local produce, jams and spices. There will be picnic tables and a giant sukkah for sitting and noshing on the goods available for purchase, with entertainment provided throughout the hours of the festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Holon Theater is reprising its annual Sukkot Sounds of Childhood festival, October 1-3, with puppet theater, musicals, song and dance productions that feature beloved kids’ songs, classics and a daily dance party for the whole family.

The Made in Israel festival in Holon during Sukkot 2023 (Courtesy Eshkol Galil Tourism)

Up in Afula, Afoodis is the kosher culinary event hosting chefs Haim Cohen, Yisrael Aharoni, Avi Levy, Avi Bitton and others, October 4-5, with their pop-ups of well-known Jerusalem and Tel Aviv restaurants, creating favorite dishes from those bistros. Musical entertainment will be provided by Tipex, Mosh Ben Ari and various DJs at Afula’s Train Park.

Over in Zichron Yaakov, local artists will bring their work and studio vibes to the Celebrating Art event, October 3-4, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with painters, sculptors, craftspeople, jewelers, ceramicists, textile artists and others at Mercaz Zamarin.

In Rehovot, revelers can enjoy free musical events each evening, October 2-4, 8 p.m., in Founders Park, with Amir Benayaoun, Haim Moshe, Aviva Avidan and others.

Take a traditional Yemenite portrait at Rehovot’s Center for Yemenite Traditions during Sukkot 2023 (Courtesy PR)

Find out more about Yemenite traditions at Rehovot’s Center for Yemenite Traditions, October 1-4,  where tours include portraits in traditional Yemenite dress and henna dye decorations. NIS 20 entry for adults, NIS 10 for kids.

The Revolution Orchestra takes over the Israeli Opera October 5-7, with three of its best-known shows, including the classic The Roosters – The Remix; another commemorating iconic Israeli comedy troupe HaGashash HaHiver and the third reprising the works of entertainer Yossi Banai.

Take a trip to the world of modern dance troupe Vertigo at its Netiv Halamed Hey eco-art village in the Ella Valley, where October 3-5 brings three days of performances, musical concerts, workshops, kids theater, movement workshops and of course, food. Tickets range from NIS 50 to NIS 120, depending on the event.

The IDF and Golan Tourism are offering free guided tours and visits to battlefields and sites of the Yom Kippur War, October 2-4, including Mount Hermon, Valley of Tears, Tel Saki and others, with guided tours every hour, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about locations, go to the Tour Golan or 50 Kippur sites.

The public is also invited to enjoy free dance, theater and musical performances at a selection of national parks during the Breathing Culture festival, October 1-5, including Tzippori, Yehiam, Beit Guvrin, Mamshit, Beit Shearim and others, with more information on the festival site.

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