Iraqi, Kurd and French cultures all meet in Jerusalem

For post-summer and pre-holiday celebrations, head to the Piyyut Festival at Beit Avi Chai which showcases liturgical poems included in religious services.

Yitzhak Aviezer 311 (photo credit: Shiri Yisraeli PR)
Yitzhak Aviezer 311
(photo credit: Shiri Yisraeli PR)
For post-summer and pre-holiday celebrations, head to the Piyyut Festival at Beit Avi Chai. The festival showcases varied piyyutim (liturgical poems included in the services on Shabbat and holidays in addition to the established prayers) in both a traditional way and also with an imaginative, modern twist. The Piyyut Festival is under the artistic direction of Yair Harel and takes place from Monday until Thursday. It includes an array of piyyut events and guided tours of neighborhood synagogues in Gilo, Kiryat Yovel and Nahlaot as well as a multidisciplinary art exhibition, Piyyut, Emotion and Thought. Several concerts will be streamed live on the Beit Avi Chai website – great news for those unable to attend.
Colorful Ladino and Turkish sounds
The opening concert, In Babylonian Maqam, takes place Monday and focuses on the piyyut and musical traditions of Iraqi Jews. The concert will include a tribute to the musician and musicologist Yitzhak Aviezer (Ishaq Abu El‘iz in Arabic) for his dedication to maintaining and renewing the tradition of piyyut and the music of Babylonian and Mizrahi Jews in Israel. Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat will attend and say a few words. Every night, there will be festive free performances in the Beit Avi Chai courtyard following the main concert. Enjoy a Kurdish Chafla with Kurdish-style songs for joyous occasions performed by talented musicians and dancers.
For the first time ever, the Menachem Begin Center is hosting an evening of French chansons (songs with French lyrics) featuring Rakelya and her band. The show will feature the best songs of the genre and there will also be an interesting presentation of the stories behind the songs and film clips. Herzl Makov, President and CEO of the Begin Center, will give opening remarks. is a new online international portal offering all the latest information on things to do, places to eat and places to stay in Jerusalem.