This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘sukkot’

First Day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv High Speed Train

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 26, 2018

Actually, the new electric train line connecting Jerusalem with the rest of the country is not high speed and does not, in fact, reach Tel Aviv! It is currently in its trial period and is free for the next 3 months if you order vouchers in advance. Because my husband is a transport fan and I will photograph almost anything, we reserved places on the 2nd train to leave Jerusalem, at 7:00 a.m. (We would have loved to be on the first train, but it wasn’t practical without a car and living in Maale Adumim.) The train does not run at its full speed (160 km/h) and does not reach Tel Aviv. It does, however, reach Ben Gurion airport, where you can switch to a regular diesel train for the rest of the journey. We were only interested in the electric train, however, so we had a cup of coffee at the airport and headed back to Jerusalem.

This man was the only other person in our section of the train. Since he would have had to be at the station early, he came prepared, with his etrog, lulav, and tallit (citron, palm branch, prayer shawl).

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

I’d never seen the Yitzhak Navon train station before, so I went a little nuts with the camera. We don’t have a lot of modern architecture in Jerusalem. The train platform is 80 meters underground, which makes it the 5th deepest underground station in the world. There are 6 fairly long escalators (elevators for those with luggage or prams), so you do need to allow about 10 minutes to reach the platform from the street level. The reason the station is so deep is because electric trains cannot climb steep slopes, and Jerusalem is considerably higher than Tel Aviv. So the first part of the journey is mainly through tunnels and a very high bridge around the town of Motza. The trains themselves are not new. They’re the 2-level trains used on regular routes, converted from diesel to electricity.

Most of these photos were taken at the Navon station. I’m embedding slightly smaller versions than normal. You can click the photo links to see larger versions. (Full album is here.)

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

This is the “protected area”, probably the deepest bomb shelter in the country.

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Right now, only 2 platforms are in operation. The station has 4 platforms.

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

The view from the Motza bridge is not nearly as scary as it looks from below, because you don’t really get a sense of the height. The windows weren’t very clear and I was using my cellphone, so this image is not very clear.

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

Literally, the end of the line. I assume that this area is normally inaccessible to the public, but the door was open, so I took a few shots. The tunnel on the right is an emergency exit. I think it emerges in the hillside overlooking the abandoned village of Liftah.

Opening day of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv HS Train

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Punny Candy Sukkah

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 24, 2013


I’ve photographed a number of sukkahs over the years but this is the first time I’ve seen a sukkah wall covered with candy puns. My neighbour, Tali Horwitz, has been collecting puns and candy wrappers for three years. If you can read Hebrew, enjoy!






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Tutorial: Tear-Drop Chip Bag Ornament and Scrap Garland

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 23, 2013


The last two decorations were a bit fiddly even for me, so I came up with a couple easy ones. Fortunately, I have a small stash of clean chip bags, so no calories were consumed in the making of these ornaments. At least not this year.

Remember how I said that you could flatten the creases in the bags with hot water? It’s even easier with an iron, set on “silk.” If you’re nervous about doing this, by all means try lower settings, use a press cloth, etc. Your iron may be hotter than mine and I do not want to be responsible for damaging it.


Tear-Drop Decoration

(photo above)

I think I used a family-size chip bag for this one.

1. Cut a clean chip bag into strips half an inch wide.

2. Cut the strips into the following lengths: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 inches (if your bags aren’t long enough, do what you can).


3, Align the ends and lay them on top of the other, with the largest on the bottom and the smallest on the top.

4. Staple the aligned ends (if they’re a bit too slippery, use a bulldog or binder clip to hold them).


5. Fold the strips in half. with the shortest strip on the inside and the longest strip on the outside, and staple the ends together.


6. Tie a string through the top and hang.

Scrap Tinsel Garland

What else could I do with all those scraps?


1. Cut a bunch of chip bags into 2 x 1/4 inch strips.

2. Thread a large-eyed sewing needle with a long, doubled piece of perle 8 cotton. Let it dangle for a while so that it untwists. Perle 8 can be quite twisty and it’s frustrating if it keeps tangling.

3. Tie a knot to join the two ends. Tie another knot about 2 inches from the first knot, to create a “stopper.”

4. Pierce a piece of chip bag with the needle and push the strip to the knot. Repeat with remaining strips, spacing the strips about 1/4″ apart. While you can thread several strips onto the needle at once, you don’t save much time doing it that way because it’s more difficult to separate them so that they have enough space to twirl and dangle.

5. When you’ve reached the end of your thread (or supply of strips or patience), tie a knot. Tie a second knot 2 inches after the first knot and cut the doubled crochet thread.


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Tutorial: Cascading Chip Bag Decoration

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 23, 2013


This decoration was inspired by a cheap Chinese-made ornament hanging in our sukkah. No, we don’t eat this much junk food–I had to dip into my stash of chip bags left over from a brief fling with gum-wrapper folding (don’t ask). If you live outside Israel, I don’t know whether this will work with your local chip bags. Our chip bags are made of plastic with silver on the inside and printing on the outside.

This project works best with bags that haven’t been creased or folded for a long time. If you only have bags that have been folded (for example, your family never ever consumes junk food, so you had to beg for bags from your unenlightened neighbours and they sat on them first), you can get the worst creases out by dipping them into a bowl of very hot water.

Cascading Chip Bag Decoration


  • 3 or more clean chip bags (wash them with soapy water to get rid of crumbs and oil)
  • Cellotape
  • Sheet of paper (for core)
  • Sharp scissors (and a lot of patience) or rotary cutter, ruler, and cutting mat


1. Cut chip bags into strips at least 5″ high and as long as the bag allows. This is important because if the fringes are less than 4 1/2 inches long, they won’t hang nicely. They’ll stick straight up like a turkey leg decoration.

2. Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut strips starting about 1/4 inch from the top and extending to the bottom of the strip. If you’re using a rotary cutter, it’s a good idea to move each strip out of the way after you’ve cut it. This enables you to see your next cutting line clearly and to ensure that the strips are cut cleanly. If they’re stuck together, they won’t hang properly.


3. Tape a piece of paper into a tube about 1″ in diameter. I used printer paper because that’s what I had but construction paper would look nicer than white.

4. Tape a strip of fringed chip bag so that it extends over the top of the tube. In the photo below, I taped the fringe with the silver side out, so that the coloured side would be on top when the decoration was hanging.


5. Tape a few more layers of fringe, spacing each layer just below the one above it. I decided that I wanted the bottom layer to be silver, so I taped it to the paper core with the coloured side outwards. (If your secret ambition is to be a cheerleader, you can stop here and shake your brand new pom pom.)


6. When you’ve run out of bags or patience, cut the remainder of core off, just below the last chip bag.

7. Tape or glue a loop to the top of the core and hang in your sukkah.

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Sukkot Children’s March, Maale Adumim

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 23, 2013

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

I don’t photograph many neighbourhood events these days, but I happened to be at home and I hadn’t seen the children’s march organized by the Mussar Avicha synagogue in Maale Adumim. So I hiked up the hill and took a few photos.

Before the march began, the younger kids made and decorated paper flags.

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Getting organized…. The bundle of sticks and cloth on the man’s shoulder is a chuppah (canopy) made from a tallit (prayer shawl) tied to four poles, traditionally used to cover a bride or a Torah scroll. The children carried toy Torah scrolls.

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Music provided by a drummer:

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Dancing in the Kikar Keren park. By this time it was dark and I had to use a flash. The park is lit by halogen street lamps, which looks horrid in photos.

Sukkot Children's March, 2013


Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Close to the end of the procession, at the back door of the Mussar Avicha synagogue. They turned right, went down the steps, and across the street, to finish in Rav Katz’s sukkah.

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

Rav Katz, seated at the far left, addresses the children.

Sukkot Children's March, 2013

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Dried Etrog Collection

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 20, 2013


My husband took the furniture out of the sukkah and washed the floor, so I was able to take this photo of the dried etrogs (and other stuff) hanging from the schach (ceiling). I had to lie on my back on the floor and use a wide-angle lens, so it’s better to do this when the sukkah is clean and empty.

Closer view of the etrogs, taken from one end of the sukkah. I stood on a chair.


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Another Year, Another Etrog

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 18, 2013


Every year, between Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot, I have to make a couple bags like the one below. It’s about 3 inches long and a couple inches wide. I’ve made knitted bags, crocheted bags, tatted bags, needle lace bags (way too time-consuming!), and even netted bags, with a shuttle and netting gauge. The crochet ones are easiest to make, so I’ll be sticking with this model for a while.


This etrog is from last year. My husband saves etrogs from the previous Sukkot, lets them dry out, attaches a tiny label with the year (in Hebrew letters), and ties it to the schach (reed ceiling) of our sukkah the following year.


We have about 40 etrogs, since he’s been saving them every year since we were married (with a few additions when my in-laws used to come to Israel for Sukkot and now my son’s etrogs). In the photo below, the blue and orange bag is netted. The other three are tatted.


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Hoshana Rabbah, 2011

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 19, 2011

Hoshana Rabbah, 2011

Hoshana Rabbah is the seventh day of Sukkot. At the morning service the men carry their lulavs and etrogs and circle the bima seven times. Each circuit honours one of the patriarchs.

I took these photos from the women’s gallery in the synagogue across the street (Pnei Shmuel, Mitzpeh Nevo, in Maale Adumim). Since very few women attend this ceremony, there was a lot of room to move around but I had to stick my lens through the curtains and around the decorative grillwork. My son is the long-haired one in the blue t-shirt (my husband went to an earlier service in the downstairs hall).

Hoshana rabbah, 2011

Hoshana rabbah, 2011

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Photos: Sukkot March in Jerusalem, 2011

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 19, 2011

Sukkot March, 2011

I haven’t been to the annual Sukkot march for several years, certainly not since I had a reasonable camera. I also made a video. Although still photos are wonderful, they can’t capture the sounds and movement of a parade. The fellow in the photo above was leading the Bezek (phone company) marchers. He happened to turn around and the sun was hitting him from an angle, making him stand out against the shadowy background. Because we were in a concrete canyon between the King David and David Citadel hotels, the light was a challenge. The marchers were in the shadows and a bluish cast, while the setting sun was bouncing off all the high buildings in the background.

Army and police units led the march:



K9 unit:


The military and police were followed by service companies.

Sukkot March, 2011

El Al and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems carry planes on sticks:


Various bank employees:


Rambam hospital:


I think the Bezek guys could benefit from a little more exercise….


Sukkot coincides with the ICEJ’s Feast of Tabernacles, so there are a lot of Christian tourists in Jerusalem at this time:

Sukkot March, 2011

These Chinese women dressed as brides were great. You should see them in my  video.

Sukkot March, 2011

A man holding a model of the scales of justice leads the court system workers.

Sukkot March, 2011

There were lots of “Welcome home Gilad” signs (how wonderful that Gilad Shalit is finally with his family again!). On the left are Russian tourists in folk costumes.

Sukkot March, 2011

“Taiwan loves Israel”:

Sukkot March, 2011

Sukkot March, 2011


Sukkot March, 2011

Sukkot March, 2011

Polish woman in folk costume:

Sukkot March, 2011

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Tatted Etrog Bag Pattern

Posted by Avital Pinnick on September 27, 2010

Dried Etrog

I have the feeling that this pattern will be of little interest to anyone but me! This week we are in the middle of Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Booths or Tabernacles.  My husband has been saving etrogs (the fruit that is held and waved with the other Four Species) for years, since he came to Israel and long before I met him. He hangs them in the sukkah for decorations. At first, he used to tie heavy thread to the stem end of the etrog but sometimes the stem breaks off. So a few years ago he started asking me to make bags for the dried etrogs from the previous year. Fortunately, I only have to make two bags a year, for my husband’s and my son’s etrogs, but every year I have to remember how I did it.

I’ve knitted, crocheted, netted, knotted, and tatted bags. Tatting is by far the easiest and fastest method. If anyone is interested in a crocheted version, let me know and I’ll post a pattern. But I’m not expecting a huge clamour for the pattern because hanging dried etrogs in little bags isn’t a very widespread practice!

If you don’t have a bunch of dried etrogs crying out for little bags, you can use this bag to hang other decorations, like fresh fruit, satin balls that have lost their hooks, coloured eggs, whatever is roundish and strikes your fancy.

Tatted etrog net

Tatted Etrog Bag

One shuttle
Perle cotton 8

1. Large ring: R1-3-3-3-3-3-2. Close. The base ring has 6 picots separated by three stitches. You don’t have to make such a large ring if you are enclosing an object with a rounded bottom. I make a large ring to accommodate the sharp point at the bottom of the etrog.

2. Small ring: Leave 1″ thread. R2+2, joining the picot of the small ring to one of the picots of the large ring. Close.  Repeat 6 times so that 6 small rings are joined to the large ring, each small ring separated by 1″ of thread.

3. Small ring: Leave 1″ thread. R2+2, joining the picot of the small ring to the thread loop of the previous round. Work in spiral fashion around and around until your bag is about 3 inches long. I find that 5 rounds is sufficient to cover the etrog.

4. To close the bag, cut the thread from the shuttle, leaving a tail of about 12″ from the last ring. Run the tail through the loops. Insert the etrog and pull the tail end like a drawstring.

Chag sameach! (and thanks to Penelope for pointing out to me that I’d forgotten #4.)

Fresh etrogs for sale at work:

Etrogs for Sukkot

Neighbour reading at night in his sukkah, which is much more elaborate than ours. In case you’re wondering, the sukkah is constructed in a public courtyard and I was walking along a public path, so this isn’t the same as photographing someone in his house.

Sukkah at night

Posted in Crafts, Israel, Judaism, needlework | Tagged: , , , | 10 Comments »