Did you ever see a sukkah on a boat or on a camel? How about a treetop sukkah or a double-decker sukkah?
The sages of the Talmud and Mishna discussed at least 50 crazy kinds of sukkot – the outdoor huts in which people dine (and sometimes sleep) during the weeklong Jewish harvest and thanksgiving festival of Sukkot (Tabernacles), celebrated this year from nightfall September 23 through October 1.
You can see and explore 20 of these theoretical life-size sukkot constructed along the Sukkah Trail at Israel’s Neot Kedumim biblical nature reserve. It’s the only such display anywhere in the world.
During the intermediate days of the holiday (Sept. 25-28), children can get creative in the “Build Your Own Sukkah” compound, where guides will help them turn thatch into little sukkot.
Sukkot also marks the start of Israel’s six-month rainy season. This year, Neot Kedumim visitors can take a journey back in time to see ancient water installations used for storing and channeling the precious rainwater for the next season’s crops.
It’s a hands-on exhibit, so be prepared to get splashed as you rotate the Archimedean screw to raise the water from a cistern, crank a bucket up from a well or drop a bucket into the reservoir.
On Neot Kedumim’s Sukkah Trail you’ll also see the trees and shrubs from which Sukkot’s traditional bundle of four species is made: the willow (aravah), palm frond (lulav), myrtle (hadass) and citron (etrog).
On those four days during Sukkot there will be bike rentals, guided tours and live musical and acrobatic performances available in the park.
Neot Kedumim is located on Route 443, between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 10 minutes from Ben-Gurion Airport. From September 25-27 it will open at 9am and close at 5pm; 8:30-2 on Friday, September 28. Admission is ₪45 per person from age 3 and up.
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