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Jerusalem Sukkot Street Fair Brings Music, Food and Culture

Photo essay & podcast: An organic eco sukkah, a blind-folded chess master, and new olim from around the world celebrate Sukkot.
By Ben Bresky
First Publish: 9/24/2013, 9:23 PM

Jerusalem Soul Center sukkah party
Jerusalem Soul Center sukkah party
Ben Bresky

Numerous Sukkot events are taking place in Jerusalem this week, and Israel National Radio's Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast attended some of them for a special audio montage and photo essay of the sights and sounds. To listen to the podcast click here.  

On Sunday the organizers of the International Eco Sukkah Competition in cooperation with the Jerusalem Soul Center held a Sukkot party to display their organic, recycled "eco sukkah." Three finalists were chosen and designs from each one were incorporated into the sukkah, which currently stands at the First Station in Jerusalem.

Paz Faigenbaum of Food Integrated Gardens, a professional permaculture company spoke to Arutz Sheva about the event.

"The contestants had to incorporate elements of permaculture and halacha [Jewish law]," he stated, explaining that the laws of how a sukkah are to be built were followed to exact specifications.

"One wall is made of edible plants. One wall is made of papier mâché with recycled newspaper. A third wall is make of woven plastic bags. The door of the sukkah is made of organic, recyclable material as well. All material was harvested locally," Faigenbaum said.

Design entrees were displayed at a Sukkah party on Sunday. The eco sukkah is open to the public at the First Station, the newly refurbished grounds at the old train station near Bethlehem Road in Jerusalem.

Also on Sunday, the annual Baka Sukkot street fair took place on Derech Beit Lehem (Bethlehem Road) in the Geulim neighborhood. Arts and crafts were on sale with face painting and games for children. Foods was on sale with multiple sukkot on the sidewalks for people to sit it and eat. Mini stages were set up with a variety of local musical acts. Even activists for the upcoming municipal elections got in on the act - mingling with revelers and passing out political pamphlets for various parties for the upcoming mayoral and city council elections.

One resident, Chaim, has lived in the neighborhood for the past 35 years, and told of the growing social and cultural life in Jerusalem during that time, and, with more cafes and restaurants now than ever before. 

Amos, a participant in a community-based environmental group promoted their new local organic garden. He encouraged residents to dump their orange peels and other organic waste in the compost pile and then help tend the vegetables grown from the compost created. He is also initiating a volunteer park rangers teams to maintain the new Park Hamesliah built upon the old train tracks.

"When there were trains running here 15 years ago it separated the neighborhood. it was dangerous to cross. Then it became unkempt and overgrown. Now it connects neighborhoods - people from all backgrounds are joining." he stated.

For more interviews with people at the street fair and other Sukkot events in Jerusalem download the mp3 by clicking here.
For an article about a previous year's fair click here.



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All photos by Ben Bresky. For more photos click here.

Ben Bresky is a music journalist living in Jerusalem. He hosts The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast interviewing a wide range of Jewish and Israeli musicians from Carlebach to klezmer, from hassidic to trance. For mp3 archives click here. For Facebook click here. For Twitter click here.