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Introducing: The unique Israeli holiday celebration you’re not going to want to miss! (with video)


Yes, it’s one of my favourite unique Israeli holiday customs: hakafot shniyot! And I can’t believe I haven’t written about it before (or maybe I have?).

Outside of Israel, most people keep 2 days of chag so they're all partied out by the time Simchas Torah ends. But here, it's all one day, so people want to keep right on partying. Not to mention -- if you wait until AFTER the chag, you can have a BETTER party: one with loud music, live or otherwise, stands selling snack foods, bubble blowers, and other kitschy glow-in-the-dark accessories, and much more. PLUS you can record it on your phone. Which I did last night.

Hakafot shniyot - second hakafot - are pretty popular regardless of how religious the community is. They take out the sifrei Torah and announce which hakafa it is, starting each one with a round of "hosha na"s -- very much like the real thing. I don't know if there's any halachic basis to any of it, but basically it's a lot of fun and not a lot of rules.

That said: This year, they WERE enforcing a very strict "tav yarok" (תו ירוק / green tag) which is basically the green passport system. To get into the area in front of the main shul here, you had to show either the COVID passport app or a test from within the past 24 hours (that's how little kids were able to get in). Even with the COVID passport app, they were making you recite your Teudat Zehut by heart while the guards held the tav yarok so you couldn't see it and borrow your friend's. If you passed the test they were giving out wristbands.

Here's what it looked like around here last night...

Unfortunately, as you can see in the videos, a lot of people assume that if you have to go through that rigmarole, everybody inside the event is healthy and there's no need for masks. I was wearing a mask, and so was NR, who you can see briefly in the girls dancing section.

As you can probably tell as well, in our neighbourhood, at least, the event is basically taken over by the two main youth groups - Bnei Akiva and Ezra. NR was particularly excited when the mayor showed up and danced with the girls for a little while. Regardless of how you feel about her politically, it was classy of her to bounce around to a few different events like this last night (since Kiryat Shmuel isn't directly inside Haifa, we sometimes get excluded or forgotten from one election to the next). Kol hakavod.

So -- good healthy times (hopefully) had by all - enjoy!!!

Tzivia / צִיבְיָה



  1. Looks like fun. So that's your new neighborhood?

    1. Same old neighbourhood! We moved last year but only 3 blocks from where we were. And a WORLD of difference...


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