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Info about Jewish Holidays – September-October 2019


Several Jewish holidays – some of which are full legal holidays in Israel – will take place this year between 29 September-21 October. The Government Press Office would like to provide the following brief summary.


Preparations for the Jewish New Year

The period preceding the Jewish New Year is marked by special penitential prayers, recited before the regular morning prayers, and the blowing of the ram’s horn (shofar in Hebrew) after the morning prayer service. Jews of North African and Middle Eastern origin began to recite these special prayers on 2 September; Jews of European origin began to recite them on 22 September. These special prayers are said daily (except on the New Year holiday itself and the Sabbath) until the day before Yom Kippur (8 October). 


Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah (the two-day Jewish new year), the observance of which is mandated by Leviticus 23:23-25, will begin at sunset on Sunday, 29 September and conclude at nightfall on Tuesday, 1 October. Both days are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings.

The centerpiece of the Rosh Hashanah service is the blowing of the shofar during morning prayers. (The shofar is not sounded on the Sabbath should either of the two days fall on Saturday.) Both days are full public holidays and, as on the Sabbath, there will be no public transportation or newspapers. In addition, many businesses, museums and other institutions, which are normally open on the Sabbath, will be closed over the holiday. The GPO will be closed on Sunday-Tuesday, 29 September-1 October, and will reopen on Wednesday morning, 2 October.

Rosh Hashanah is also characterized by two special customs. The first is the eating of apple slices dipped in honey, symbolizing the hope that the coming year will be “sweet.” The second involves going to a natural source of flowing water (such as an ocean, river, or spring), reading a selection of scriptural verses and casting pieces of bread into the water – to symbolize the “casting off” of the previous year’s sins; this practice derives from Micah 7:19 (“…and You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.”) This ceremony takes place on the first day of Rosh Hashanah (or on the second, if the first day falls on the Sabbath).


The Period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

The ten days between New Year and Yom Kippur (inclusive) are known as “The Ten Days of Repentance”. Jewish tradition maintains that this is a time of judgment when all people and nations are called to account for their deeds of the past year, and when their particular fates for the coming year are decided.

The day after the New Year holiday is a day of fasting known as the Fast of Gedaliah, and commemorates the murder of Gedaliah, the Jewish governor of Judea, who was appointed by the Babylonians after they captured Jerusalem in 586 BCE; the episode is recounted in II Kings 25:22-25. (When the day after Rosh Hashanah is a Saturday, the fast is postponed by one day.) The fast will extend from sunrise on Wednesday, 2 October until nightfall the same day. Special scriptural readings are recited; the day is not a public holiday.

A single Sabbath, known as the “Sabbath of Repentance”, always occurs between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. This Sabbath (5 October this year) is marked by a special reading from Hosea 14:2-10, beginning with, “Return, Israel, to the Lord your G-d.” 


Yom Kippur

Yom Kippur (Hebrew for “The Day of Atonement”) begins at sunset on Tuesday, 8 October, and concludes at nightfall on Wednesday, 9 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 16:29-31 and 23:27-32. The holiest day of the year, Yom Kippur is the day on which, according to Jewish tradition, our fates for the coming year are sealed. Synagogue services – centering on the penitential prayers – will continue for most of the day and include special scriptural readings (including the Book of Jonah in the afternoon). Memorial prayers for the deceased, said four times a year, are recited on Yom Kippur. At nightfall, the shofar is sounded once to mark the end of Yom Kippur.

Yom Kippur is a full public holiday in Israel and almost all establishments (including the GPO, on Tuesday-Wednesday, 8-9 October) will be closed. There will be no radio or television broadcasts. Since Yom Kippur is a day of introspection, completely separate from the normal course of daily life – the physical aspects of our lives are sublimated while we concentrate on our spiritual concerns – the day is marked by a full (sunset to nightfall) fast. The wearing of leather, the use of cosmetics, bathing and marital relations are likewise forbidden. 



The seven-day Sukkot festival, mandated by Leviticus 23:34-35 and 23:39-43, begins at sunset on Sunday, 13 October and concludes at nightfall on Sunday, 20 October. The first day, from sunset on Sunday, 13 October, until nightfall on Monday, 14 October, is a full public holiday. All seven days of the holiday are marked by special prayers and scriptural readings – including the Book of Ecclesiastes, which is read on Saturday, 19 October. Sukkot is a joyful, family oriented holiday, which follows – and provides a contrast to – the somber, introspective and private character of Yom Kippur. Many businesses and institutions will either close or operate on a reduced basis. The GPO will be closed from Sunday, 13 October, through Monday, 21 October, and will reopen on Tuesday, 22 October.

Sukkot is characterized by two main practices. Jews are enjoined to build, take all of their meals in, and (if possible) sleep in, temporary huts topped with thatch or palm fronds during the festival. These huts (sukkot in Hebrew) commemorate the temporary, portable dwellings in which the Jewish people lived during their 40-year sojourn in the wilderness that followed their liberation from slavery in Egypt. The second main Sukkot observance is the special bouquet – consisting of a closed palm frond, a citron, a myrtle branch and a willow branch – that is held during morning prayers on each of the seven days (except the Sabbath); its origins derive from Leviticus 23:40, many traditional explanations of its symbolism have been cited. 


Shemini Atzeret (Simhat Torah)

The Shemini Atzeret (literally “The Eighth Day of Assembly” in Hebrew) holiday immediately follows the last day of Sukkot, beginning at sunset on Sunday, 20 October and concluding at nightfall on Monday, 21 October. Its observance is mandated by Leviticus 23:36. It is a full public holiday. (Even though it follows the seven-day Sukkot festival and is often considered part of Sukkot, it is, in fact, a separate holiday. The special bouquet is not used and the obligation to sit in the sukkot no longer applies.) The day’s prayer services include the memorial prayers for the deceased, as well as the prayer for plentiful rainfall during the coming winter.

Shemini Atzeret, however, centers around its special scriptural readings. On Shemini Atzeret, the yearly cycle of Torah (the first five books of the Bible, i.e. Genesis to Deuteronomy, one section of which is read on each Sabbath during the year) readings is both completed and begun anew. This event is accompanied by dancing and singing, sometimes continuing for several hours; in religious neighborhoods, these celebrations often spill out into the streets. Thus, the holiday is also referred to as Simhat Torah (“Rejoicing of the Torah” in Hebrew).



The 56th Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival will take place October 18th to 21st, 2019. The festival takes place twice a year in and around Abu Gosh, a town located 16 kilometres west of Jerusalem on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. It will offer a program of 16 concerts suited to many musical tastes and performed in two churches – the spacious Kiryat Ye’arim Church, sitting high up on the hill, and the Crypt – a small, 12th century Crusader Benedictine church set in a magical, exotic garden in the lower part of the town of Abu Gosh. The Abu Gosh Festival has existed in its present form since 1992. People come from far and wide to attend concerts, picnic in the open, sit in on open-air events, buy trinkets, textiles, jewellery and food products at the outdoor stalls set up near the Kiryat Ye’arim Church and relax in the tranquil surroundings of the Jerusalem Hills. The festival features many Israeli groups and soloists, also hosting some overseas artists. For several years, the festival’s promotion and production have been administered by Gershon Cohen. As of 1995, Hannah Tzur has been musical director of the festival. Ms. Tzur, a contralto who has soloed with major orchestras and conductors in Israel, has been directing the Ramat Gan Chamber Choir for 20 years.

Festival-goers with a taste for large choral works will enjoy several concerts at the Kiryat Ye’arim Church, with a number of programs featuring settings of the Stabat Mater text - that of Rossini, with soloists, the Kibbutz Artzi Choir and conducted by Yuval Benozer (Concert No.2), that of Haydn, with soloists with the Ramat Gan Chamber Choir, conducted by Hannah Tzur (Concert No.3) and that of Schubert with soloists, the Ichud Choir, the Orpheus Instrumental Ensemble (director: Guy Figer) conducted by Ronen Borshevsky (Concert No.6). The Batumi Women’s Choir from Georgia, conducted by Zaira Vadachkoria and Gala Vadachkoria, will make its Abu Gosh Festival debut (Concert No.10) and the Stuttgart Chamber Choir, under Frieder Bernius, will be back again with a new program (Concert Nos.1, 4). A unique event for early music aficionados will be Ensemble PHOENIX’ performance of  17th century Neapolitan composer Francesco Rossi's sublime oratorio “La Caduta dell'Angeli” (Fall of the Angels), sung by students of the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music’s Vocal Department (director: Sharon Rostorf Zamir); instruments of the period will be played by members of Ensemble PHOENIX, joined by guest violone player Gio Sthel (Brazil/Germany), all conducted by PHOENIX founder and director Myrna Herzog (Concert No.8).

Concerts in the Crypt of the Benedictine Church are bound to appeal to many tastes. With music from their native Bulgaria, the women singers of the Armena Quartet will be accompanied by bagpipes and guitar (Concert No.15). Offering a program of Georgian and Russian music, the Crypt will be alive with the substantial voices of the all-male Kolan Quintet (Concert No.12). To sunnier shores, Eran Zehavi will accompany singers Shira Ben David and Michal Doron in opera favourites and Neapolitan songs in “Viva Italia” (Concert No.13).  Zehavi will be joined by opera singers Yael Levita and Maya Bakstansky in works of Bernstein, Kurt Weil and Gershwin and a selection of movie hits in “An American in Berlin” (Concert No.14). Directed by Ari Erev, nostalgic American evergreens will be the focus of singer Tami Gerassi and friends in “Immortal Hits - Broadway, New York” (Concert No.11). As to Concert No.14, “Electric Guitar Called Love”, here is an event inviting the more curious of us to hear soprano Tal Ganor in a pot-pourri of works by Dowland, Purcell, Queen, Fauré, Elvis Presley and Israeli songwriters as arranged by Yuval Vilner and accompanied by him on the electric guitar!



Bimot:02-6237000, *6226


Bravo: *3221, 072-2753221

Photo: Armena Quartet (not Ermena quatet)

Boris Metafchiev






The Piano Festival is the largest music festival in the country, which for 21 years has already produced several winning combinations and performances that continued afterward outside the festival and were recorded in special albums and video.

This year, the Piano Festival is again taking place at the beginning of winter between November 13-16th, 2019 with a diverse program representing the multicultural aspect of contemporary Israeli music. 

The festival's performances will take place in ten auditoriums throughout the city. The central location will take place in the Tel Aviv Museum of Art: Recanati Hall, Kaufman Hall, Asia Hall, Mizna Blumental Gallery, Contemporary Israeli Art Gallery and in the Cameri Theater.

Other performances will also take place at the Noga Hall in the Gesher Theater, Jaffa and the Enav Cultural Center. 



Due to the abundance of artistic and musical styles the festival has taken care to balance mainstream artists producing special festival performances alongside indie artists. Multiple musical techniques, a variety of languages, cultural styles, and musical experiments are the foundation of the festival. Spoken, ethnic, indie, pop, rock, and electronic alongside the Mediterranean, beautiful Israeli and Jewish-faith music, classical, poetry combined together for five days of excellent music by the best Israeli artists and creators.

The festival allows artistic freedom to the participating artists and as a result, the audience fills the halls with over 90% occupancy every year! The festival exposes the concert comers to Israeli classics alongside novel surprising productions, special musical formations and even to new musical instruments.

This year, the festival is dedicating a special homage to musician and pianist Alona Turel who passed away in May this year and had been an integral part of the festival throughout previous years. In the concert dedicated to her memory, the best artists who worked with her will perform onstage alongside young artists who were influenced by her. Performers include Chava Alberstein, Nurit Galron, Yoni Rechter, Shalom Hanoch,  Dori Ben Zeev, Alon Adar, Meir Yisrael, The Platina, Doron Talmon, Vered Picker, Moshe Levi, Alon Hillel, Miki Shaviv, Alon Olearchik, Yurai Oron, Shmulik Budgov, Nadav Hollander, Ariel Horowitz.

The 21st festival is also paying tribute Nathan Alterman in three special shows: "Ha'Layla Shelach" new songs by Rami Harel and Naama Nachum - a discourse between Alterman and his daughter Tirza Atar, "Magash Haketzev" a special show of Alterman's songs for children and "When Wilensky met Alterman" in which Tzipi Zarenkin and Nathan Slor perform the beautiful hits of Alterman and Wilensky and host Ran Eliran.



Festival Director: Shabi Mizrahi, Deputy Director Culture and Arts Division and Director of the Performance Department

Production: The Department of Performances in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality in collaboration with Hamon Volume and Zappa.

Artistic Director: Etti Anta-Segev

For more details on the festival performances, tickets and prices please refer to the full article on:


Photos by Silvia Golan





Beauty and Diversity of Ecuador Comes to Tel Aviv with the Galapagos Islands Photo Exhibition

Some of the world’s most exotic and unique creatures came to Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening, September 11th, with the opening of a special photo exhibition: “Wildlife of the Galapagos Islands: The Treasures of Ecuador Photo Exhibition.” The evening was a joint project of the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History.

Diplomats and friends of the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum joined in the formal opening of the exhibition. Large, brightly colored photographs detailed the marvelous flora and fauna of the Galapagos Islands, and guests were served refreshments while they walked around and enjoyed the next best thing to a visit to Ecuador.

Professor Tamar Dayan welcomed the guests and expressed her excitement at the opening of such a vivid representation of one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet. She mentioned that it was, in fact, the biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and observations on natural selection. Professor Dayan emphasized that the exhibition was a testament not just to the beauty of nature in the Galapagos, and the talent of the photographer Jonathan Green, but especially to the work of the museum and embassy staff to make this special wildlife accessible to an Israeli audience. Professor Dayan, on behalf of museum director Alon Sapan, thanked the Ambassador of Ecuador, H.E. Maria Gabriella Troya, for her dedication to both sharing and preserving the beauty and biodiversity of the Galapagos.

Ambassador Troya stressed that Galapagos does not “belong” to anyone; rather the people and government of Ecuador are its “custodians”, tasked with caring for the islands and the vibrant life they contain. The ambassador noted that Mr. Green is not just a talented photographer, but also a naturalist working to raise awareness about the Galapagos Islands.

The ambassador explained that the photo exhibition is just part of the growing cooperation between Tel Aviv University and the embassy, which also includes a recent symposium for Ecuadorian and Israeli scientists. She called for more work to protect and preserve the richness of the Galapagos Islands UNESCO heritage site. In closing, the ambassador emphasized the need to include children, as the best ambassadors of nature.

 After enjoying the photo exhibition, as well as refreshments including Ecuadorian imported products, guests were invited into the museum for a short presentation by Professor Noa Shenkar about her recent visit and research in the Galapagos Islands. She talked about her own impressions, as a marine biologist, visiting the islands for the first time. Professor Shenkar also introduced the moral dilemma of whether to encourage visitors to the islands to appreciate their beauty and diversity, or whether to discourage visitors because of the need to protect the delicate habitat. In conclusion, she urged everyone to consider these issues, and scientists, in particular, to focus on this special area of the world. 

Diplomacy.co.il congratulates the Embassy of Ecuador and the Steinhardt Museum on this important initiative

 Written and photo by Steven Aiello
 Director, Debate for Peace



The tango ensemble ASTOR TANGO״ led by Marcos Ayala will appear in a World Premiere with original tango music of Astor Piazzolla from August 19 to 24 at the Suzanne Dellal Center for Dance and Theater

The bonus code 4545 will grant our friends a discount of 45% of the full price.

The full price is 260/320 NIS –with the discount is 175/145 NIS.

For a discount call at the telephone 03-5105656 or contact thru website https://www.suzannedellal.org.il/

A show you won't forget!

I can’t define them in a technical point of view.

These are forms of music playing, forms of feeling, something that emerges internally, spontaneously - Astor Piazzolla.

Marcos Ayala, inspired by the artistic life of the famous tango music composer Astor Piazzolla, faces a new challenge with the contemporary tango language.

In a theatrical show that is hot, expresses desire, sensuous, sexy and exotic, to Astor Piazzolla’s great tango music, covers, with his sensuous choreographic creation, the spectator of the composer that broke through the musical borders of his time, despite the rejection of his contemporaries. Piazzolla became the greatest tango music composer and his works the most often and best players around the world.

Marcos Ayala and his partner Paola Camacho, together with other ten extraordinary dancers express the geniality of Piazzolla’s musical works.

The bonus code 4545 will grant you a discount of 45% from the full price.



Performance dates at the Suzanne Dellal Center:

Monday 19/08 at 9:00 pm

Tuesday 20/08 at 9:00 pm

Wednesday 21/08 at 9:00 pm

Thursday 22/08 at 9:00 pm

Friday 23/08 at 2:00 pm

Saturday 24/08 at 9:00 pm

Telephone to acquire tickets: 03-5105656,

web site  /www.suzannedellal.org.il/להקת_טנגו_מרכוס_אשאלה___ארגנטינה

or https://www.suzannedellal.org.il/en/Marcos_Ayala_Tango_Company_-_Argentina




Marcos Ayala:
Stage director, choreographer, and dancer proposes to redevelop again and again the tango genre to keep it relevant for the newer generations.

Together with his tango ensemble, he has succeeded in creating a language rich in significance and surprises the audience far beyond expected.

He also expresses all his experience and knowledge by means of choreographic creations that tell contemporary stories without neglecting the tango style dance, which he interprets in the best way.

Marcos Ayala’s with his partner, Paola Camacho, make up a perfect dance couple, with synchronized movements and fabulous interpretation technique. 


Suzanne Dellal Center of Dance Adress 
5 Yechieli st.
Tel Aviv



Milonga in Suzanne Dellal’s square – free entrance – 22/08   

 Photos by Federico Paleo