The Best Things to do in Jerusalem
Jerusalem events in September tend to reflect the contemplative tone of the main Jewish holiday that usually occurs this month: Rosh Hashanah*, the Jewish New Year. This is expressed in the more serious mood of musical concerts, seasonal exhibits and performances.
Celebrations of liturgical traditions and walking tours that encourage us to take stock of our actions lead us into a more contemplative frame of mind. Not to say this is not an enjoyable time of year: Rosh Hashanah is a time of renewal and holiday spirits, while chamber music and archaeology both echo the past and continue to affect our present.
There are plenty of Jerusalem events here for the mind and soul to partake, learn, enjoy and, yes – celebrate!
* Be sure to download our Rosh Hashanah gift to you - an illuminated Traveler's Prayer with the traditional text in Hebrew and English.
Here are some of the best Jerusalem events in September:
This is the Jewish New Year, a time when people give others blessings for the coming twelve months and wish each other sweetness. There is goodwill to be shared, in addition to warm family meals and familiar traditions, at home and in synagogues. You will hear the sounds of the shofar in the air for the entire preceding month, calling people to repentance, and people wishing each other shanah tova – a happy new year.
Be aware that during this two-day holiday, stores and businesses will be closed and there is no public transportation. Since this year, 2014, Rosh Hashana ends as Shabbat begins, that will be three days of closed stores and no public transportation. Many hotels may ask you to make prior arrangements or reservations with them for holiday meals, so check at the reception of your hotel if that’s the case.
Services are held at the Western Wall, which is open to all. Hang around the Western Wall plaza long enough and perhaps someone will invite you to join a local family for a holiday meal – it happens all the time!
If you’ll be home on the day, try our traditional honey-sweetened round challah recipe and check out this step-by-step guide to conducting a traditional Rosh Hashanah Eve meal.
When: from September 24, 2014 at sundown, to sundown on September 26, 2014.
The Tower of David hosts what has become a
standard Jerusalem event: a 24-hour festival of continuous sacred music from the three faiths that feature so prominently in Jerusalem’s history.
Performers from Israel and abroad explore the concepts of sanctity and inter-faith understanding, and they take turns beating the enormous, specially-built drum on the roof of the Tower of David, so that the pulse of music will thrum continuously all night long.
In tandem, the museum offers walking tours of the Old City
focused on a similar theme.
If your idea of romance is sipping wine at sunset in a garden filled with world-famous sculptures, spiffy up for one of the more classy Jerusalem events and spend an evening at the Israel Wine Festival.
The wine tasting event takes place in the evening, amid the priceless artwork of the Israel Museum’s Sculpture Garden.
Under the moonlight and strolling among the Henry Moores and Picassos, listening to light jazz, you can sample many of Israel’s award-winning vintages.
There’s always a good representation by local Jerusalem wineries, so this is an opportunity to get to know the region's
vineyards without having to travel out to the wineries themselves.
If you get there early, before it gets crowded and people
have had one too many sips, you may also get to meet the vintners themselves and learn about our world-renowned wines.
By the way, if you’re interested in Israeli wines, "The Ultimate Rogov's Guide to Israeli Wines" is the book you want.
(Please remember not to drive yourself home.)
The annual YMCA Chamber Music Festival is a beloved Jerusalem event that brings together top classical performers for lovely performances at the Jerusalem YMCA’s historic building, an oasis of tranquility in the center of the city.
Past performances are available on this wonderful DVD: