Spring and summer are usually a warm, lively time of year in Israel. Tourists come in droves, especially in the summer months. Visitors can enjoy experiencing some of the Jewish holidays when they’re staying at any one of the many Jerusalem hotels. If you plan to visit the country from mid-March to September, then read on and find out about some of the Jewish happenings during this time.
Purim is the feast of Esther, when the Jews triumphed over the wicked Haman. It’s similar to a toned down Mardi Gras, where you’ll find people walking the streets around your Jerusalem hotel in colorful customs, with perhaps a whiskey or wine bottle in their hand. On Purim, it’s a commandment to get so drunk that you can’t tell the difference between good and evil. Israelis really take this commandment to heart, as you’ll hear people from your Jerusalem hotel laughing noisily and a bit drunk through the streets. Purim usually falls out in March.
Passover (Pesach) is celebrated at the end of March or April, and lasts 7 days. The first day is the Passover Seder night, which is celebrated in one form or another by the majority of Israelis. Since bread and even bread products are forbidden to be eaten during Passover, you won’t be served any sandwiches, etc, at your Jerusalem hotel, unless you don’t mind matzah sandwiches. Thousands of people visit the Western Wall during this holiday – you can feel the electricity of the area. Most Jerusalem hotels are jam-packed during this time.
Shavuot falls out in May or June, depending upon the year. In Israel, it’s celebrated for one day. This day commemorates the receiving of the Bible at Mount Sinai. Dairy foods are usually eaten – you’ll see lots of cheesecakes and cheese blintzes at your Jerusalem hotel’s restaurant. Shavuot is one of the three pilgrimage holidays where Jews were commanded to bring their sacrifices to Jerusalem. Today, Jews from all over Israel as well as the world congregate at the Western Wall to follow the commandment to visit Jerusalem.
Tisha B’Av (9th of Av) falls out in July or August. It commemorates the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem. All that remains is the Western Wall, which is visited by hundreds of thousands of worshippers during Tisha B’Av.