Photo Essay: Israel Prepares for Holiday of Sukkot

National unity, Torah values celebrated in high point of Israel's holiday season, as the country readies itself for seven days of joy.

Tova Dvorin ,

Pure joy: Israel readies itself for the holid
Pure joy: Israel readies itself for the holid

Jews across Israel are preparing for Sukkot (Feast of the Tabernacles) Wednesday - building and decorating the traditional sukkah huts outside their homes, buying the arba minim (Four Species) at local vendors, and planning meals and guests for the weeklong holiday. 

Sukkot, which begins Wednesday night and ends on Thursday, October 14, celebrates the Jewish people's sojourn to the Land of Israel through the desert, and centers around trust in God and national unity.

The final day culminates in the Shmini Atzeret and Simhat Torah holiday, a one-day celebration which marks the beginning of Israel's winter/rainy season and a renewal of commitment to Torah values. Outside of Israel, the holidays are celebrated on separate days, and the holiday season will end there on October 15. 

Traditions and rituals throughout the holiday include saying the Hallel prayer, eating and living outdoors in sukkah huts, reciting special blessings over the four species, and - when possible - visiting Jerusalem. 

Children and some adults in Israel have the full week off of school and work, as well; as such, many concerts, events, and tours are scheduled for the week of Sukkot, and families often take advantage of the vacation to go on hikes and take day trips.