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The eight-day Succot holiday is upon us, as are its many and varied festivals. Following is a sampling of holiday highlights taking place around the country over the coming week.
Jerusalem and surroundings
The Jewish Music Festival at Beit Shemesh, which runs from September 30 to October 2, will feature performers including Ariel Zilber, the Stairs and Shlomo Katz, as well as organized walks, bicycle rides, a farmers market, street theater and more. Admission is free.
The Vertigo Dance Troupe will premiere its newest work, the environmentally themed Birth of the Phoenix, under a collapsible, portable geodesic dome made entirely of natural materials. The choreography of the piece varies according to the landscape in which it's staged. Birth will be performed at the Israel Museum on October 2 and at Kibbutz HalamedHeh October 3 and 5.
Six puppet shows for children will be staged between September 27 and October 4 at the Train Theater in Jerusalem's Liberty Bell Garden. The shows include Peter Rabbit and the award-winning Grandma Knits Stories. A guided tour of the Yemin Moshe area, entitled Where's Mrs. Gabai, will also take place. Tickets and information are available at (02) 653-5133.
The 'Succa-ria', a succa made entirely of candy, has been built by the city of Jerusalem and will offer visitors the chance to sample barbecued marshmallows, chocolate fountains, cotton candy and other confectionary delights, as well as musical performances. Measuring 100 square meters, the succa was constructed with two tons of kosher candy ('sucaria' in Hebrew) and meets all the halachic requirements for the traditional succa structure. The succa opens September 26 in front of Jerusalem's City Hall. Entrance is free.
The 32nd Abu Ghosh Festival features 19 choral music concerts between October 2 and 6, many of them at the city's Kiryat Yearim Church. Guests this year include the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, the Potsdam Chamber Choir and child singers from Uganda.
Tickets range in price for individual shows between NIS 35 and 145, with packages and other deals available.
The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo
The Nature Garden, located at 155 Herzl, is showing off the results of its NIS 600,000 facelift, offering a petting zoo for children, new exhibits and its botanical gardens. Because this isn't a well-known place, Dan buses 1 and 2 will take you there, as will Egged lines 92, 84 and offers activities at the Open Museum suitable for children aged three and up. The zoo's Succot festivities run each day of Hol Hamoed between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. In addition to meeting the animals, guests can also enjoy theater shows, stories and songs. More information is available at www.open-museum.co.il.
Tel Aviv and surroundings
The Orna Porat Children and Youth Theater offers six plays between September 29 and October 6. More details are available at (03) 510-5656.
The Children's Museum in Holon features "My Home," an interactive exhibition about private houses, while The Sounds of Childhood Festival at the Holon Mediatheque and Theater offers performances by the youthful Georgia Dance Ensemble.
Talking Chairs, a free exhibit at Ramat Gan Park, showcases 100 giant plastic chairs decorated by artists such as Menashe Kadishman, celebrities like Eli Yatzpan and public personalities like Judy Nir Mozes Shalom.
Cat lovers, meanwhile, can prepare themselves for Hatuliada 2007, a cat show taking place at Rishon Lezion's Naot Shikma Hall on September 28 and 29. Apart from the competitions, there'll be activity and play corners for kids, as well as an adoption zone. Tickets range between NIS 25 and 35.
The Givatayim Theater will host The 14th Storytellers Festival, showcasing stories told be members of the country's media, army, arts and political circles. Tickets and information are available at (03) 604-5000.
The Acre Festival of Alternate Israeli Theater runs September 29 through October 3 in and around the crusader fortress in the Old City of Acre. In addition to nine plays, the festival features tons of free street theater, exhibitions and installations of various kinds, as well as Acre's wonderful seafront restaurants and the marvelous market in the alleys of the Old City.
The Renaissance Festival will take place between September 30 and October 2 at another crusader fortress, this one in Yehiam. Set in a courtyard filled with costumed knights, jesters and artisans, the festival celebrates early music with occasional forays into the baroque.
The Galil Mountain Winer
will host Wine in the Succa during Hol Hamoed, an event featuring tastings and winery tours. The winery is located on Kibbutz Yiron in the Upper Galilee. More information is available at www.galilmountain.com.
Kibbutz Ein Gev is celebrating its 70th birthday with a Succot Fishing Expedition, with participants invited on sailing trips in the Kinneret and a train ride through the kibbutz. Dining options are available in the kibbutz's kosher fish restaurant and succa. More information is available at www.eingev.com.
Five minutes from Beersheba, the Sde Teyman airstrip plays host to The Aviation & Extreme Sports Festival during Hol Hamoed, with activities including an aerobatics show, a skydiving show, a police helicopter flyby and a look at remotecontrolled aircraft. Extreme sports enthusiasts can bungee-jump, take flights over the Negev and skydive. More information is available at (08) 6104488.
The Tararam Dance Troupe celebrates a decade of work with a moonlit performance in the open air amphitheater at Beit Govrin National Park. More information about the September 30 show is available at www.tararam.com.
A Charity Benefit for the Afula Hospital Children's Ward will feature pop singer Roni Superstar at Lake Kinneret's Ginossar Beach on September 30. The pop star will be joined by local bands as part of the marathon fundraiser. More information is available at (03) 619-5977.