Jerusalem, Israel - Oct. 17, 2019 - Each year on one day of Chol Hamoed Sukkot the grounds of Beit HaNasi are opened to the public. President Reuven Rivlin came out and greeted his guests multiple times on Thursday, October 17, as thousands attended including MK Zeev Elkin.
The theme of this year’s Open Sukkah at Beit HaNasi was ‘Finding Treasures in the President’s Sukkah.’ In cooperation with the Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage, people were able to enjoy a range of family-friendly activities. The event was open to all and free of charge. Overseas visitors with a valid passport were welcome. All had to pass security to enter the grounds.
Among the activities was a meeting with Theodor Herzl on the famous balcony in Basel, which included a photo opportunity. Golda Meir and Ben Gurion could be found wandering in the crowds.
Visitors also had a chance to uncover archaeological remains from earth dug out of archaeological sites around Jerusalem with Sifting Project volunteers.
The public was invited to bring with them pictures and letters from personal or family collections that will be scanned and added to the holdings of the National Archives in order to enrich the holdings from a different era of the history of the Land of Israel.
Another activity allowed children to experience a virtual reality tour by Tower of David where they sat and saw the Kotel and Har Habayit. Another popular activity with the children, sponsored by the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem, was engraving an antique Bar Kochba coin.
The presidential public Sukkah was be decorated in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. This year’s theme was grapes, both for eating and for wine, and included the history of wine production. No samples of wine for tasting were available, but wheel barrel loads of fresh grapes were given out as were other fresh fruits.
Part of the street in front of Beit Hanasi was closed to vehicles for the Open House, as were many major Jerusalem roads to accommodate large pedestrian crowds access to the Old City and the annual Jerusalem Parade on Thursday afternoon.