Sukkot in Safed is one of the most inviting times of the year to visit Safed. Local families set up their sukkahs on their porches, rooftops and even along the lanes and alleyways of the main thoroughfares which presents a festive atmosphere of communal celebration. Visitors are often invited to enter these sukkahs and spend time with the families, giving everyone an opportunity to relax together.
sukkot & covid-19
Across the globe, we are all trying our best to handle this new normal, but unfortunately that means that many of us won’t be spending the holidays the way we normally do. Since many synagogues are closed for services, tours are only operating under severe restrictions, and social distancing in public spaces is required, we at Tourist Israel want to encourage you to stay at home and stay safe. Many annual events are cancelled or postponed, but we want to offer this guide as a general overview for what to expect seasonally, so we will not be removing events from this page. Why not try making your own sukkah this year and celebrating this festival of bounty at your own home?
Activities for Sukkot in Safed
Preparations for Sukkot in Safed are underway
During the Sukkot holiday, there are special Safed activities which are open to all. Many are free while others involve a small entrance fee.
The Ascent Center, a long-time Safed institution of learning and hospitality, invites people of all ages to join them at their main building on HaAri Street for seminars and workshops. Additionally, they will host the Sukkot Festival – Pre-Sukkot Weekend Retreat, Oct 11-12, Sukkot Festival Oct 13-22. The activities are subsidized and include home hospitality for holiday and Shabbat meals, hikes, classes, tours and concerts. Participants can join a single activity of their choice, a day’s activities or come for the entire week of fun and inspiration. Ascent also offers subsidized accommodations.
The International Center for Safed Kabbalah, on Alkabetz Street in the courtyard of the Fig Tree Gallery, will have a sukkah on their rooftop terrace where visitors can enjoy the magnificent view of the Northern mountains while they eat or simply sit and relax. In the Center itself the welcomes visitors to an exhibition of miniature sukkahs which represent the Sukkot traditions and interpretations of Jews from throughout the world. The exhibition will show sukkahs which not only display varied customs but also show unique sukkah ideas, such as ecological sukkahs made from recycled materials.
Shvil HaLev – the Path of the Heart – offers guided tours of Safed. The tours bring visitors to the main historical sites of Safed but also include many little-known sites which have rich historical value in Safed and Jewish tradition but are generally not included on other tours. The Shvil HaLev tours include the music and stories of Safed which bring the city’s mystical traditions
The Safed Tourist Information Center will operate throughout Sukkot to provide maps and other information to visitors. Tourists are invited to watch a 10-minute film on the “History of Safed” and walk into the “Time Tunnel” — a 500-year-old subterranean room which was once at street level but has not been buried underground. The excavations display the Livnot U’Lehibanot project of experiencing Israel and Judaism through building, hiking, and learning.