Fall is a very festive and important time of year in Israel. While in North America, the season tends to conjure up images of cornucopias overflowing with apples, gourds and pumpkins, in Israel you’re more likely to be offered locally grown pomegranates and honey with wishes for a happy and sweet new year.
At this time of year, Jews gather to celebrate a number of holidays in all different sorts of ways and no matter how they celebrate—whether it’s going to synagogue or going to the beach—it’s a festive time for family and friends to get together.
Here are some celebrations taking place in Israel
- The sound of live music will punctuate the Negev Desert near the Dead Sea (little-known fact: it’s actually a lake) during the Tamar Festival, a four-day event beginning Oct. 2 that celebrates Sukkot, one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals.
- Simchat Torah, which signifies the completion of the annual cycle of the Torah readings, immediately follows Sukkot on October 7 and continues through October 8. Joyous in nature, the holiday is filled with dancing and singing as well as parading the Torah scrolls throughout synagogues. Many communities hold their own festive celebration to express their love and respect for the Torah study.
- Thousands of people from around the world will descend on Jerusalem for the Jerusalem March on October 4. This event brings together a diverse group of cultures, faiths and nations who walk through the streets of Jerusalem to promote a message of peace, understanding and friendship with participants often clad in traditional clothing that represents their country and waiving their nation’s flag. The day includes concerts and entertainment as well.
- The Olive Harvest Festival coincides with the annual harvest with participants taking part in olive picking and learning more about traditional olive oil production. The festival attracts locals and tourists interested in experiencing traditional agricultural practices while learning about sustainable farming methods through workshops.
- InDnegev, now in its 11th year, has become the Coachella of the Middle East. Taking place October 12-14, this annual music festival features independent artists, arts and culture and is known for its eclectic music lineup, laid-back atmosphere and celebration of creativity. The lineup features both established and emerging Israeli artists along with international performers. Many festival-goers camp on-site, creating a communal vibe that is family-friendly with designated areas and activities specifically for children.