The Baka street fair took place on Beitlechem Road in Jerusalem on Monday. Located on the southern side of the city, the Geulim neighborhood, better known as Baka, is known for its quaint coffee shops, old Turkish houses and numerous trees. The main thoroughfare is Derech Beitlechem, or Bethehem Road.
The ancient road leading to the city of Bethlehem, translated as "House of Bread" saw numerous bread themed tables and booths. Children were invited to make homemade bread. Local artists made sculptures out of stale bread. Actors dressed up in bread themed costumes.
Local businesses sold fresh fruit and home made crafts. Live musical performances included Beatlejuice, a Beatles cover band. Most of the people that crowded in the middle of the closed off street didn't seemed to see any cultural or political significance in a Jewish man in a kippah belting out the songs of a British band on a crisp evening in Jerusalem. And the salsa dancing that took over the street seemed to be all in the spirit of the ancient Simchat Beit Hashouvah celebrations. Middle eastern drumming, and Israeli folk music could also be heard as well.
And of course, in the spirit of the Sukkot holiday, the streets were lined with sukkahs. One in particular was sponsored by Chabad of Baka, run by Rabbi Avraham and Dina Hendel. The sukkah featured children's activities and offered a the Four Species for passersby to say the traditional blessings. Extra aravah, or willow branches were given away. As the end of the holiday nears, the willow is usually the one the dries out the fastest as opposed to the myrtle, palm branch and etrog fruit.
Also on display were old black and white photographs of Derech Beitlechem and the parallel Derech Hevron (Hebron Road). There was a stark contrast between the busy, traffic-filled streets of today and the modest, sparse housing as depicted in the photographs.
For more information on the Baka/Geulim community, visit http://baka.org.il/