Sukkot with the president

Don’t miss Sukkot at the President’s Residence: Thursday, October 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (entry until 3 p.m.). Admission is free.

 RIVLIN GREETS celebrants.  (Mark Neyman/GPO) (photo credit: MARK NEIMAN - GPO)
RIVLIN GREETS celebrants. (Mark Neyman/GPO)
(photo credit: MARK NEIMAN - GPO)
Since 1952, all of Israel’s presidents, beginning with Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, and including the current President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin, have hosted the public at the President’s Residence during Hol Hamoed Sukkot – the intermediate days of the festival – for an open house designed around a specific theme and including exhibits and activities. This year, President Rivlin is once again inviting the public to celebrate Sukkot with the traditional visit to his sukkah on Thursday, October 17. The theme of this year’s sukkah visit, presented by the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry, is “Discovering Israel’s treasures at the president’s sukkah.”
The event will feature live Klezmer music and actors portraying famous Israeli personalities, including Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, Golda Meir, and others, will appear at various stations. The event, which is designed for the entire family, will include a variety of different activities, from sifting the ancient sands from Jerusalem’s City of David, to viewing the battle of David and Goliath in an augmented reality environment, wearing special VR goggles. Visitors can visit the presidential platform to meet and greet President Rivlin.
Special displays and activities including archaeology, dance and archival audio materials of holiday songs and Jewish liturgical poems (piyyutim) from Israel’s National Library will be available for visitors. In addition, Yad Ben Zvi and the Shazar Center will be collecting letters and photos from different periods in Israel’s history for including in the country’s archives. Individuals are invited to bring documents and photos for scanning. The Agriculture Ministry will present the special and delightful fruits of the Holy Land at its booth.
Don’t miss Sukkot at the President’s Residence: Thursday, October 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (entry until 3 p.m.). Admission is free. Visitors are required to bring an identification card or passport for admittance. Entrance will be at 3 Hanasi Street. Chag Sameach!
This article was written in cooperation with the Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Ministry.
A Sukkot message from President Reuven Rivlin
It is an established tradition that on the holiday of Sukkot the president opens his residence to all Israelis, and his sukkah becomes the people’s sukkah. It is a wonderful custom, carrying with it the memory of our people’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem. Beit Hanasi, the President’s Residence, is the home of all Israelis. The president’s sukkah belongs to each and every one of you and is open to all. Every year, I am happy and proud to welcome you, to meet you and to shake your hand in the sukkah. Even if it gets crowded, our hearts are open. This year, I invite you to come to the president’s sukkah at Beit Hanasi, the people’s home.
This year we are celebrating the treasures of our country and our capital, Jerusalem. For thousands of years, Jerusalem has been synonymous with home. It is a historical home, a home of dreams and of reality, a home for prayers and for daily life. Jerusalem is everyone’s capital, the people’s capital, but at the same time each one of us has his own personal Jerusalem. Perhaps that is the secret of the city’s magic, a city that has been standing for thousands of years. At the president’s sukkah, we will discover the treasures of Jerusalem – historical and innovative, royal and personal, a city which is a symbol of amity, of religious diversity and of multi-culturalism.
On Sukkot, we are commanded to leave our homes for temporary shelter – the sukkah. The sukkah is open to everyone and allows us to see the people and the nature that surrounds us. The sukkah, which is always outside, allows us to hear and to feel that which we struggle to see in our daily lives because of the walls around us. The sukkah brings us out, inviting us to notice things and people we do not normally notice. We do not live in isolation. Our actions have a decisive influence on our environment. Sukkot, more than any other Jewish holiday, symbolizes the connection between humanity and nature. It symbolizes our journey to the Land of Israel. And when we are here, in Israel, we should remember that our journey is not yet over. We must make the land bloom and develop it, looking around us and listening.
Chag sameach to us all!
May our sukkot be places of peace and genuine openness, and may we all enjoy a year of blessings, of flourishing and of success.