More than 6,000 people were in attendance on Monday as President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin held the traditional Open Sukkah at the President's Residence in Jerusalem.
This year the Sukkah was themed “Celebrating 70 years in the President’s Sukkah with our brothers and sisters of the Diaspora", in cooperation with the Diaspora Ministry. The President made special welcome of the members of Israel's public with disabilities, saying, "I give a special welcome to our important guests, our dear guests with disabilities. Together we are all one. We are responsible for each other."
"This year we celebrate our relationship with the Jews of the Diaspora," added Rivlin.
"This is the only state that is defined as a state for the Jewish people and therefore belongs to the entire Jewish people. Today, half of the Jewish people are in all the Diaspora, they are connected to their love of the State of Israel and the Land of Israel and we are connected to them."
During the day, the President and his wife met with guests who had arrived from all over the world, shaking hands and asking visitors where they had arrived from. president and his wife shook their hands, heard from them about the places they had come from. Rivlin thanked all the visitors for coming, saying that they warmed his heart with all the letter they brought him. "Happy holidays, happy New Year, to us and to all of the Jewish people," he told them.
Rivlin also blessed Israel's first rains which fell on Sunday, telling visitors that "it is especially wonderful that we received rain even before we said the traditional prayer for rain."
Rivlin has made a point of underlying Israel's relationship with Diaspora Jewry. In late September, Rivlin told leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations that "we will never let go of you. We will never turn away from our family outside of Israel. It is time we listen and learn. It is time we learn to really understand each other better. It is time to face not only what ties us together, but also what makes us different.”