Events in Israel

Israel’s events calendar is packed with exciting things to see and do. Some of the best events Israel has are held during national holidays like Hanukkah in December, Purim in March, Passover in April/May, and Sukkot in September/October. Special holiday events include costume parties during Purim and the lighting of an eight-candle menorah during Hanukkah week.

Annual events in Tel Aviv include the exciting White Nights when there are street parties throughout the night; the Tel Aviv Eat culinary festival, and the art and design festival, Fresh Paint. If you’re interested in events in Jerusalem, check out the Festival of Lights when the Old City is lit up with light installations; the Jerusalem Wine Festival, and the multi-disciplinary Israel Festival. Other top events in Israel include the multi-faith Holiday of Holidays in Haifa, and the Karmiel Dance Festival.

Sports enthusiasts will love the Tel Aviv Night Run; the Dead Sea Marathon, and the Jerusalem Marathon. There are regular basketball games and football matches in large venues. Music events in Israel include the Jazz Festival in Eilat; the Midburn Festival in the Negev, and the Klezmer Festival in Safed. Christians can enjoy the Palm Sunday Procession, and the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in Bethlehem. Jewish visitors should attend services at the Western Wall, and Muslim tourists can experience the Eid al-Fitr celebrations and prayers on Temple Mount.

Christmas in Jerusalem

After the holiday of Easter in Israel, which for Christians is the most important festival in their calendar, Christmas is an incredibly popular time to visit Jerusalem. With dozens of churches in the Old City, near to the Old City and in the neighbourhood of Ein Kerem, there’s no shortage of places to spend this special time of year. And let’s not forget that - located just six kilometres from this holy city - is Bethlehem. Without a doubt, it’s an unforgettable place to celebrate the Christmas holidays.Nativity scene. Photo by Ben White on UnsplashFor sure, Christmas in Jerusalem is a truly unique time of year. Whilst it can be chilly (don’t forget to bring some warm clothes, since it is high in the hills) it’s Old City's Christian and Armenian quarters are filled with beautiful decorations and have a truly festive atmosphere. Other landmarks in the newer part of the city, such as the YMCA, are also fine places to visit since they hold carol concerts and services.And for a little luxury, you can always pop across the way to the elegant King David hotel for a drink at their elegant bar, or a meal in their famed fine-dining restaurant. Nevertheless, most pilgrims tend to congregate inside the walls of the Old City, so let’s take a look at what goes on there.Old City CelebrationsOn Christmas Eve, many Christian pilgrims follow in the footsteps of Jesus, from the spot at which he was tried to the site of his crucifixion and burial (Calvary), located at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. If you are within the walls, you will see them walking the Via Dolorosa in the Old City of Jerusalem and whilst this is something often associated with Easter in Jerusalem (and Good Friday services), it is still very moving procession to watch.Midnight Mass is always held at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the most sacred site for millions of Christians around the world. Dedicated in 336 CE, its lavish interior and extraordinary ambience make it a unique place to attend services. Whether of an Orthodox denomination - Greek, Coptic, Armenian & Syriac - or Roman Catholic - there will be chapels open for prayer and you will be astonished at a large number of candles lit there, only adding to the atmosphere.Christmas tree. Photo by Joanna Kosinska on UnsplashMidnight Mass and the Annual Procession to BethlehemAfter Midnight Mass at the Holy Sepulchre, many pilgrims decide to participate in the Procession led by the Latin Patriarch, which winds its way through Jerusalem’s Old City. Latin Patriarchs are the Catholic episcopal see of Jerusalem and stretch back to the time of Arnulf of Chocques in 1099. After a period of time where they sat in Rome, Pius IX reinstated a Resident Patriarch in Jerusalem in 1847.The procession passes by the Mar Elias Monastery, located in the south of Jerusalem and overlooking Herodion and Bethlehem. Maintained today by the Greek Orthodox church, it is decorated with Byzantine-style paintings depicting biblical scenes and worth a visit in its own right. The procession finally arrives in Bethlehem at around 1 am, passing by Palestinian scouts marching bands parading through Manger Square, bagpipe players, choirs that are carol-singing and an enormous Christmas tree. Pilgrims finally arrive at the Church of Nativity, the spot where Jesus was born in a stable.A fine way to mark this special holiday could also be with a ‘Christmas Eve in Jerusalem and Bethlehem’ tour that culminates with a festive dinner and midnight mass outside the Church of Nativity. Not only will you be able to see landmarks in the city, but you will also eat with your group, close to Manger Square, before partaking in the Midnight Mass.Christmas tree in Bethlehem. Photo credit: © ShutterstockAlternative Services in JerusalemFor those who are less inclined to travel on foot to Bethlehem, there are a number of services at other churches in the city. At midnight, you could attend the Benedectine Dormition Abbey on Mount Zion and sing Christmas carols. Located at the highest point in Jerusalem, it commemorates the spot where Mary died (‘fell asleep’ as the name suggests). Look out for the dome above the statue of Mary - it shows pictures of six women from the Old Testament - Eve, Miriam, Yael, Judith, Ruth and Esther.For protestants, the Christ Church offers fantastic hospitality, beginning around 7 pm with coffee, biscuits and carol singing. After prayer and discussion, there is a Christmas service that begins at around 10.30 pm and lasts until after midnight. The Episcopal St. Anne’s Church, just 200 metres from the Jaffa Gate, also offers services and a popular concert, which tourists love. The Armenian Catholic Church of Our Lady of the Spasm (also known as the Church of Sorrows of Mary) also welcomes visitors.Dormition Abbey, Mount Zion, Jerusalem. Photo credit: © Sofia EmeliyanovaNotre Dame Centre and the YMCAAnother highly recommended spot to celebrate Christmas in Jerusalem is the Notre Dame Centre. This beautiful French cathedral is located opposite the Lions' Gate and was built in the 1880s, to accommodate pilgrims wanting to travel from France to the Holy Land. Constructed on land purchased by the Count of Piellat, its architecture is a fusion of classical and modern - and after decades of construction, a beautiful nave was put in place. (Our tip: arrive early and visit their lovely rooftop restaurant, to enjoy a glass of wine and a cheese plate whilst watching the sunset over the Old City walls).The annual Christmas Eve concert and singalong at Jerusalem’s famous YMCA is always a lovely (and multicultural!) affair, including classical music as well as Christmas carols. Built in 1933 by the American architect Arthur Harmon (who actually designed the Empire State Building) it runs educational and cultural programmes throughout the year and its Youth Choir and tree-lighting ceremony are always a lovely thing to see. (Indeed, even at the height of the COVID pandemic, virtual services took place with a rendition of Ava Maria by the famed Israeli singer Achinoam Nini, as well as songs from the Nutcracker Ballet (accompanied by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra).Christmas-inspired concerts can also be heard at the Lutheran Church of Augusta Victoria. Located in the east of the city, on the northern side of the Mount of Olives, it was built at the turn of the century for the city’s German Protestant community who lived, at that time, in Ottoman Palestine.Church of the Holy Sepulchre.Photo credit: © ShutterstockThe Garden Tomb and Ein KeremThe Garden Tomb (always particularly popular with Protestants) is not the first place you might think of visiting in Jerusalem, at this time of the year, but it’s not just a spot of worship for Easter. Located close to the Damascus Gate and believed by some to be the site where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected, every year they hold an evening of Christmas carols that are sung in English, Hebrew and Arabic! Finally, for those who care to venture out to Ein Kerem (which means ’Spring of the Vineyard’ in Hebrew) is a charming, lush hillside village, located in the southwest area of the city and famous for its ancient holy sites. These include the Church of the Visitation and the Church of John the Baptist.Christ Church Courtyard in the Old City of Jerusalem.Photo credit: © Dmitry Mishin
By Sarah Mann

Christmas in Bethlehem

Christmas in Israel can be magical and a truly spiritual experience. There are services in local churches (mainly in Jerusalem, Nazareth and Bethlehem) as well as services held at the locations where Christmas events took place. Many tour buses leave Jerusalem on Christmas Eve to services in Shepherds' Field where an angel appeared to the shepherds on Christmas Eve. The tours continue to the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem and end off at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem for the Midnight Mass.Christmas tree in Bethlehem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockOf all the Christmas celebrations in Israel, perhaps the largest and most moving is at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, where gather in Manger Square to be a part of the celebration of Jesus’ birth on the spot where the events unfolded.Christmas in Bethlehem includes processions through the streets, carol singing, and religious services which can all be an extremely spiritual experience.Roman Catholics celebrate on the 24th of December at Saint Catherine’s Church in Bethlehem, as well as on the 5th and 6th of January when the Epiphany is commemorated. Greek, Coptic, Romanian, and Syriac Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on the 6th of January in Bethlehem. For those belonging to Orthodox denominations, it is customary to join into one of the many religious processions that are held in Bethlehem. Armenians tend to hold their services at the Basilica of the Nativity, although this falls a few weeks later than Protestant/Catholic times (usually the third week of January). These processions always pass through Manger Square, close to the site where it is believed that Jesus was born. For Protestants, it is a different matter.Some of them, of course, will attend evening services in their local churches whilst others will make the trip to the Church of the Nativity or Shepherd’s Field. For Protestants who want to travel to Bethlehem from Jerusalem, the YMCA organizes an evening trip. In Jerusalem, popular Protestant and Anglican churches include the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and St. George’s.Nativity scene, stained glass, Church of St. Catherine, Bethlehem.Photo credit: © ShutterstockChristmas traditions in Bethlehem tend to be in the same vein as those in Europe and North America. A week or two before 25th December lights will be put up, as well as other decorations, and flags will fly. Christians often paint crosses on the doors of their home and traditional Christmas markets are held, selling all kinds of fare associated with the holiday. If you look in the windows of peoples’ houses, you may also see miniature Nativity scenes on display.On 24th December - Christmas Eve - an afternoon parade is held in the center of the town and all of the residents, not to mention pilgrims and tourists, crowd the streets in an attempt to get a bird’s eye view of the celebrations. At the head of the Parade are officers on horses and behind them a man - also on a black horse - carrying a cross. Following him are government and church officials. Once the parade has arrived at the Church of Nativity followed by a man riding over a black steed and carrying a cross. After him comes the churchmen and government officials. After the parade has entered the Church of the Nativity, a statue of the ‘Holy Child’ is placed inside. The honored guests then descend down a long flight of stairs which leads them into a grotto. There can be seen a silver star - this is the place that marks Christ’s birth.In Nazareth, there are Christmas Eve parades and firework displays as well as church services. In all over 90,000 foreign visitors arrive in Israel annually to celebrate Christmas. Christmas is celebrated also in Haifa and in Jaffa. It is important to remember that throughout the rest of Israel you could probably not even notice that it is Christmas in Israel as unlike America and Europe the streets and stores are not decorated, there is no Santa ringing a bell outside shops, and Christmas music cannot be heard in the streets. Book a tour to the Christmas Eve in Jerusalem & midnight mass in BethlehemInside the Church of St. Catherine, Bethlehem.Photo credit: © Shutterstock
By Petal Mashraki

The Red Sea Jazz Festival

The Red Sea Jazz Festival is an annual event held in the gorgeous beach resort city of Eilat, Israel on the edge of the Red Sea. Since its initiation the festival has grown in size and importance. The Red Sea Jazz Festival plays an important role in fostering Israeli jazz talent and has also earned itself a reputation in the international jazz scene. The event takes place over four days in August at the music-inspired Prima Music Hotel and other Eilat venues.jazz festival The Red Sea Jazz Festival hosts a special tribute to Israeli jazz with lots of performances spanning the full spectrum of the Israeli jazz scene, showcasing the multicultural tapestry of Israeli jazz. The festival includes Israel’s greatest jazz performers who have established careers both in Israel and internationally. At the festival, there are both veteran pioneer artists responsible for establishing the jazz culture in Israel and new up-and-coming Israeli artists. The festival follows a special format to salute the legendary Israeli jazz artists with original productions showing the development of jazz through the generations. In addition, usually, there are several big-name international acts including such artists as The Chick Corea Trio, Avi Lebovich and The Orchestra; Aharale Kaminsky; Albert Piamenta; Guy King; TATRAN; Quartet to Afrika; Shlomi Shaban; Shalom Hanoch and Maya Belsitzman among others.Few festivals manage to continue for 30 years and this is a testament to the strong legacy and unique character of the event. In addition to the live performances, the festival offers other special events like the Red Sea Jazz Festival Young Jazz Program. Young musicians will be able to join a workshop run by some of the festival performing artists. The festival hosts the Israeli Jazz Convention, discussion panels, lectures, master classes, workshops for the public, and in the mornings special jazz performances geared towards children aged 5-10 years. One of the traditions of the Red Sea Jazz Festival is the Jam Session held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel poolside. The jam session starts at 11 pm and the jamming continues into the night. Throughout the festival, there are usually sunset jazz cocktail events on Mosh’s Beach near the Eilat Port. Entrance is regularly free and the cocktails will be accompanied by a selection of young bands.Queen of Sheba hotel EilatEilat is the ultimate beach resort; during the festival, visitors will be able to enjoy the incredible Red Sea where there are natural coral reefs, schools of tropical fish, and even dolphins. There are water sports for the whole family, cruise excursions, dreamy beaches, and amazing malls. Eilat is a duty-free port city so you can shop-til-you-drop. Be sure to visit the Ice Mall which has an ice rink in the center. Visitors can also take excursions into the surrounding desert to places like Park Timna, the Dead Sea, and Masada. From Eilat, there are convenient day trips to Petra, Jordan, one of the seven wonders of the world. Eilat has wonderful restaurants, many specializing in seafood and you will find that Eilat hotels rival the best beach resort hotels worldwide. Visitors can enjoy the Red Sea Jazz Festival and a fantastic holiday.Practical Information:When: usually in August. Performances and events take place throughout the day from 10 are to 1 am.Where: At select Eilat venues including the Crowne Plaza Hotel; Jazz Cinema; Port arena; Red Note and the Sea Club.
By Petal Mashraki

The Mountain to Valley Relay Race – April 2018

The Mountain to Valley Relay Race 2018 is one of the top Israel events to be held on 26-27 April 2018. This will be the 10th annual Mountain to Valley (M2V) race. M2V is a 215 km group relay race which takes place over the course of about 20 hours. Although the race offers a competitive and non-competitive category there are no monitory prizes. Instead participants take part for the social interaction, personal challenge and to enjoy the stunning scenery of this unique race.Mountain to Valley Relay Race RoutThe race starts in Tel-Hai. The route takes you through the Hula Valley, past the Sea of Galilee, the Beit Netofa Valley and the Menashe Mountains.The finish line is in the Yizrael Valley near Timrat. The route is divided into 24 segments each measuring 5-12 km.Teams of 4, 6 or 8 runners take turns running the segments in a rotation order.Due to the nature of the run which takes place over the course of about 20 hours runners can sleep in a car or hotel when it is not their turn to run. The race takes place during day and night hours and so some runner will be running in the dark. This is a truly unique race experience. Runners should have flashlights and luminous vests to help them on their way through the dark. Runners can be accompanied by an assistant runner. Most of the race is run along trails and off-road. Along the route roads are not closed to traffic and so runners need to be very careful. It also means that the runners can be accompanied by a vehicle. The vehicle is used for carrying food, water, assistance and as a place to rest.Mountain to Valley Relay Race 2018 Routes and CategoriesThe race has competitive and non-competitive categories. Running teams are classified according to the number of runners (8/6/4); whether the runners are all women, all men or mixed and whether the team is competitive or non-competitive. Competitive runners must run on a rotation basis with each runner resting while all the other runners have a turn to run. With non-competitive teams it doesn’t matter the order of the runners or number of legs each team member runs.Teams can register for the race online. Teams can determine their own starting time from Tel-Hai and the line-up of starting times will be staggered. The first team will head out on 26 April at 6 a.m. and the last team will set off at 2 p.m. There will be a closing ceremony on 27 April at 10 a.m.
By Petal Mashraki

The Best Ways to Spend Christmas 2019 in Israel

Christmas 2019 is just around the corner, and in Israel, the land where the events of Christmas actually took place there is excitement in the air as decorations go up, trees are erected in city centers and churches prepare for special Christmas services. You won't see Christmas celebrated in all Israeli cities but in places where there are Christian communities you can experience the holiday season in the Holy Land, unlike anywhere else in the world. To help you plan your time in Israel as you celebrate Christmas here are some of the most popular and special 2019 Christmas events in Israel.2019 Christmas Events in JerusalemYMCA Christmas Concert: 24.12.2019, 19:30-21:30The traditional Christmas celebrations at the historic YMCA building in Jerusalem include a Christmas Eve concert featuring more than 80 performers. Among those performing will be the Jerusalem Street Orchestra; YMCA Academy Orchestra; the Jerusalem Oratorio Choir and the Jerusalem Youth Choir, with youths from West and East Jerusalem. You can expect to hear all the classic Christmas songs and enjoy a festive atmosphere at this annual event.Santa’s House: Throughout December 2019, 17:00-20:00Each year Santa’s House opens its doors to excited young visitors. Situated on St. Peter’s Street in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City, Santa’s House is a non-profit attraction supported by donations with the sole purpose of delighting young visitors. The house belongs to a family whose generations have inhabited the Old City for over 700 years. Santa’s House is decked-out with traditional Christmas decorations and although it may not be the North Pole, families can enjoy the warm, cheerful atmosphere in Santa’s house.Dormition Church Christmas Concert: 2019: 21/12/2019, 11:00Attend a Christmas concert in the beautiful Dormition Church on Mount Zion. This year’s guest performer will be the French classic organist, Maurice Clerc. The concert will include a variety of arrangements on the organ. Enjoy the music of this world-renowned performer in the surroundings of one of Jerusalem’s most exquisite churches.The Dormition Church2019 Christmas Events in JaffaHappy Market: 20/12/2019, 10:00-16:00This lively market takes place at the Art Club at 9 Shach Street. The market stalls will hold hand-made goods such as ceramics, jewelry, glassware, clothing as well as flowers and a range of Christmas items. No Israeli market would be complete without some delicious food stalls and at the Happy Market, you won’t go hungry! Free admission.Jaffa Christmas Parade 2019: 27/12/2019, 17:30This annual parade includes music; decorated parade floats escorted by Santa figures and other holiday-themed participants. The parade will travel along Yefet Street stopping at a number of points along the way including the churches along the route where kids will be treated with sweets, small gifts and other surprises. Free admission.Scouts Christmas Carnival Parade: Friday 06.01.2020, 17:30 (there may be changes)Come join this annual parade presented by more than 550 scouts, members of Jaffa’s Orthodox Scouts Club. The parade will travel from Evn Rashd Street, down the length of Yefet Street to St. George’s Church on Louis Pasteur Street. This traditional carnival includes costumed participants, performances by the scouts’ orchestra ending with a brilliant firework display. Free admission.A Christmas treeScouts Christmas Carnival Parade2019 Christmas Events in Western GalileeChristmas Run in Mi'ilya: Friday, 20.12.2019, 08:00This will the 5th year that this fun run has been held in the beautiful Galilee to celebrate Christmas and the Festival of Lights, Hanukah. Each year this Christian village is decorated with colorful Christmas lights and Christmas trees for the holiday season. The run marks a coming-together of people of different faiths and cultures. People of all faiths, persuasions and communities are invited to join in for a run through the lanes of this magical Galilee village. You’ll have the choice of a 2km, 5km or a competitive 10km run. The run has been created to suit individuals as well as families with kids. There will be prizes for the winners in categories above 5km. A fee will be charged for Participation in the Christmas run.Western Galilee Winter Festival: Thursday-Saturday, 19.12.2019-21.12.2019 (times may vary)The Western Galilee Now Organization holds an annual Winter Festival with events and happenings spread across several villages. There will be an exciting schedule of Christmas-related events. Kfar Pasuta is considered one of the best festival villages where the celebrations include a wide range of activities; musical performances; Christmas carols; family activities and tours through the quaint lanes. Kfar Eilabun is another popular destination during the festival; here there is a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the village square and an adjacent Christmas market. The Kfar Eilabun celebrations include street performers, a parade and wonderful kid’s shows.Christmas Season in Mi’ilya:Saturday – Monday, 21.12.2019-23.12.2019, 10:00-24:00 - The traditional Christmas market in Mi’ilya has Christmas food stalls, artists’ stalls, Christmas candy stalls and sale of Christmas decorations. The market is also where you can see kid’s shows and towards nightfall musical performances for all the family.Tuesday – Wednesday, 2.12.2019-25.12.2019 10:00-18:00 – One of the most moving events in Mi’ilya during the Christmas season is the church service and choral singing held in the Greek Orthodox Holy Mary Church. Free admission.2019 Christmas Events in HaifaHaifa Holiday of Holidays Festival: Thursday – Sunday, 19.12.2019-28.12.2019, various hours throughout the day.The Holiday of Holiday Festival is one of the largest and most important festive season events held in Israel. 2019 will be the 26th year of this festival that takes place on weekends throughout December in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood and down to the German Colony at the lower end of the Baha'i Garden. The holiday of Holidays celebrates Haifa’s multicultural communities and the principles of mutual respect; cultural tolerance and diversity. The city is decorated with colorful decorations and lights; there is a wide range of special events, musical performances, lectures, parties and markets held throughout Haifa. Many of the festival events have free admission and most of the exhibitions will be open from 10 am to 8 pm.Among the events of the Holiday of Holiday festival 2019:Opening Ceremony, Beit HaGefen Theatre, 19.12.2019, 20:30 – Join locals and dignitaries for a festive opening ceremony where there will be game tables, tours, musical performances, stand-up performances and much more.Christmas Parade, Ein Dor Catholic Church, 21.12.2019, 17:00 – the traditional Christmas parade in Haifa will travel down Ein Dor Street and continues to Allenby Street via the German Colony and back again.Family Happening, Beit HaGefen yard, 26.12.2019, 11:00-15:00 – This fun-filled annual happening for the whole family includes creative workshops; make-up stations; food stalls; circus performances; fun games where everyone can participate and more.
By Petal Mashraki

Jerusalem Marathon, March 2018

The annual Jerusalem Marathon is one of the Israel top events. The upcoming Jerusalem Marathon will be held on 9 March 2018. This is one of the most beautiful urban running courses in the country as it passes by many iconic and historic landmarks.The unique course is set against a backdrop of thousand-year-old structures and offers both urban landscapes and forest-covered hilltop views. The spring weather in Jerusalem in March is perfect for running. Runners come from across the world to participate. Up until 2011 Jerusalem had only held half-marathons but today the full marathon course meets international standards of excellence and attracts approximately 30,000 runners from over 50 countries around the world. Past Jerusalem Marathon winners have come from Ethiopia and Kenya.Jerusalem Marathon Courses 2018Participants in the Jerusalem Marathon 2018 will get a tour of the city. The route takes runners through the oldest parts of the city, along urban routes, through parks and past lush forests. The marathon course starts at the Israeli parliament building, the Knesset. The course takes participants through Mount Scopus where they can see the Hebrew University and Haas Promenade. Runners will get to see the Old City as the route enters the Jaffa Gate and continues through the Armenian Quarter then out of Zion Gate. The route takes runners past the majestic David’s Tower. The marathon course takes runners to the Jerusalem Forest and on to the finish line in Sacher Park. The route is particularly challenging due to Jerusalem’s hilly terrain.Jerusalem Marathon Courses 2018In addition to the full marathon of 42.2 km there will be a half marathon (21.1 km); a 5K competitive race; 5K community race; 800-meter community race; 10K race and a family race of 1,7km. All of the courses set off from near the Knesset and Israel Museum on the corner of Derech Ruppin and Eliezer Kaplan Street except for the family race which takes place in Sacher Park, near the finish line.Jerusalem Marathon CoursesIn addition to the full marathon of 42.2 km therewill be a half marathon (21.1 km); a 5K competitive race; 5K community race; 800-meter community race; 10K race and a family race of 1,7 km. All of the courses set off from near the Knesset and Israel Museum on the corner of Derech Ruppin and Eliezer Kaplan Street except for the family race which takes place in Sacher Park, near the finish line.Special Jerusalem Marathon 2018 EventsIn addition to the race itself, the event will be celebrated with special happenings for the whole community. There will be a Sport & Health Expo held on 6th-8th March open for free to participants and their families. On offer will be commercial stalls selling sport-related items as well as entertainment and food. In addition, there will be training sessions, lectures, sports demonstrations, and competitions. The runners’ kits will be distributed at the expo. Participants will be invited to a traditional pasta dinner the night before the race.On the day of the marathon, there will be a festive atmosphere along the course. Spectators will be able to take part in events and activities as well as enjoy musical performances on stages set up along the route of the marathon. At the finish line in Sacher Park, there will be a sports fair and festival with activities including exercise classes, drum circles, Zumba, and kickboxing classes. Visitors and participants can also enjoy entertainment and food stalls in the park. There is a traditional pre-marathon run in the Botanical Gardens as well as night runs during marathon week.
By Petal Mashraki

October 2017 – Events in Israel

October is drawing to a close but the month still holds a number of interesting and surprising events for visitors to Israel!Choral Fantasy , JerusalemListen to some great choral music by local singing groups from Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Kfar Saba as well as some international groups who are arriving in Israel especially for this event. The groups will perform in a variety of styles and will be accompanied by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra. The YMCA auditorium has excellent acoustics and offers beautiful surroundings; there will also be outdoor performance.Between Heaven and Earth, JerusalemThis is a dance and movement festival featuring the talents of three top choreographers (among others) who will be exploring the struggle between body and soul.Tom Jones in Israel, Tel-AvivSir Tom Jones is known for his long and successful career with hits like Delilah, Sex Bomb and It’s Not Unusual, as well as being a judge on the UK The Voice. He will be performing one show only in Israel.Rihanna in Israel, Tel-AvivThis will not be Rihanna’s first trip to the Holy Land and she is known for always putting on a good show with lots of pizzazz. She is a 6 time Grammy winner with hits like Diamonds, My Umbrella and On Fire.Pearls of Music , Latrun MonasteryThis is an opportunity to hear beautiful classic music played by the Jerusalem Festival orchestra in the picturesque buildings of the Latrun Monastery. The pieces being played will be classics from a number of genres including baroque (Vivaldi, Handel, Bach), jazz, South American music and hits from Broadway musicals.Ah, Jerusalem!Tower of DavidA new musical (in English) geared towards tourists with songs, dance and comedy. The story line is based on Jerusalem, history, the present tourist experience in Jerusalem and the colorful characters of the city.Jerusalem Knights, JerusalemThe streets of the Old City come alive with knights, dragons, fire eaters, fortune tellers and Medieval music tropes. This is a free event.
By Petal Mashraki

Eilat Desert Marathon 2017

The Eilat Desert Marathon 2017 starts in the desert and ends on the shore of the Red Sea in Israel’s resort city Eilat. This run takes you through stunning scenery unlike any other course. The breathtaking landscape along the route offers desert, sea and mountains. The race is a full body and soul experience. The Eilat Desert Marathon is run in November, the beginning of Israel’s winter season. Weather is pleasant and you won’t feel the sweltering heat of the desert. The Eilat Desert Marathon 2017 will be held over the course of three days 16-18 November. The 17th November will be the main running day. Together with the races themselves there will be other activities.The full marathon route is for experienced runners only and is classified as “extremely” difficult. However runners of all levels of fitness from professional athletes to children can take part as there are several routes. The routes of the Eilat Desert Marathon start on the Herods Hotel promenade in Eilat. The route of the full marathon takes you up Roded Creek, through the Tuchin Valley and into the Shchoret Mountains. This is where runners can experience the most beautiful views across the surrounding desert. The race ends back at the Herods promenade.Lineup of Events for the 2017 Eilat Desert MarathonThe marathon opens with a ceremony and distribution of kits to participants on the 16th November. There will also be a fascinating Paleo Market, activities for kids and the family run. In the evening of the first day there will be cocktails in the lobby of Club Hotel Eilat; a short briefing for participants; pasta dinner and entertainment. Early the next morning the full marathon; half marathon; 10 KM and 5 KM will set off one after the other. For those not running there will be more market stalls, kid’s entertainment and family activities.At sundown the awards will be presented and you can join in desert yoga as the sun goes down. Later that evening there will be musical entertainment a movie screening and a crazy desert party.On the final day of the Eilat Desert Marathon, Saturday November 18th, visitors and participants can take part in a myriad of activities and enjoy the stunning attractions of Eilat. You can go diving at the reef, do some tax-free shopping, join organized activities and tours.Routes of the Eilat Desert Marathon 2017There is a 300 m family fun run on the first day of the marathon. The second day of this three day event is the main running day. The 42.2 KM marathon is the first race of the day starting at 6am. Soon after the 21.1 KM half-marathon; 10 KM and 5 KM runs set off. The 42.2 KM is the longest of the Eilat Desert Marathon races. It is intended for experienced runners. Professional runners should note that the course is not measurable to AIMS standards.Whether you are coming to cheer on the runners, participate in a race or just have fun this is one of the top events in Eilat’s calendar and not to be missed.Register here!
By Petal Mashraki

The 54th Israel Festival Has Begun!

Last night saw the opening of the 54th annual Israel Festival in Jerusalem with Shalom Hanoch hosting leading Israeli performers like Danny Sanderson, Yehuda Poliker and Berry Sakharof. The theme of this year’s festival is interdisciplinary performing arts.The festival aims to present audiences with non-commercial performances which are the cutting edge and the latest creations in the performance world. Among the unique venues there will be the Sultan’s Pool, the Israel Museum, the First Station, the Jerusalem Theatre, Machon Hartman, venues in Ein Kerem, the International Convention Center and the Gerard Behar Center.The line-up for the festival includes many European performers as well as local talent. Among the 12 visiting performers there are productions from Finland, France, China, Romania and the Czech Republic. Among the much anticipated performances there will be She She Pop’s, a post-dramatic (PDT) production from Germany which is based on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. From Italy’s Romeo Castellucci comes Julius Caesar, Spare Parts, a new look at the Shakespearean classic which will be performed at the Jerusalem YMCA. Elementary Particles is a multi-disciplinary piece about the psycho-sexual complexities of the modern generation. The performance is four hours long and follows the experiences of two brothers. Mystery Magnet is the Belgian contribution to the festival presented by creator Miet Warlop and company. Another guest from abroad will be French dancer/choreographer Xavier le Roy performing a solo piece, Unfinished Self. Another dance performance is Snakeskin by Canadian dancer Benoit la Chambre. Famed American choreographer, Trisha Brown will also take part in the festival.Among the Israeli contributions is prize winning director Eyal Weiser’s drama How Is the Beast. At the Jerusalem Khan Theatre audiences can see Kineret Kineret, based on Nathan Alterman’s play. The Vertigo Dance Company will be performing their acclaimed piece Prades and Changes. The festival will present the premiere performance of Badad, a musical based on the life and music of Israeli legend Zohar Argov. The musical will be performed in the magical surroundings of the Tower of David. One of the most popular events of the festival which will be returning for the 10th consecutive year is a marathon of Tchaikovsky music. The Israel Festival will also present performances geared towards younger audiences. There will be the musical Bear in Mind based on Goldilocks and a dance piece, Carnival of the animals.Tickets for the festival performances are already on sale and some shows are sold out. Prices range from 80ILS to 155ILS. The 54th Israel festival will take place from May 25 to June 24 at the Jerusalem Theatre and other venues in the city. There will also be several free open-air performances at the First Station.
By Petal Mashraki

Osho Israel International Festival at Giv’at Haviva

The Osho festival has been taking place since 2008; it is a celebration of life and spirituality. Firstly, for those who are not sure, Osho is the name given to an Indian guru, professor of philosophy and spiritual leader called Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (1931-1990). Osho was against organized religion; promoted meditation to music, the importance of humor, creativity and advocated an open attitude towards sex. The movement can loosely be described as one branch of Western New Age thought. The Osho Festival celebrates the teachings of Osho on the green Campus of Givat Haviva, 45 minutes north of Tel Aviv. Giv’at Haviva is a center dedicated to building a socially cohesive society. It is the largest Osho festival in the world.The festival is a moving and spiritual experience for many and influences many lives. The festival takes place over the course of three days during which the campus becomes a small village and vision of a utopic life. Over the course of the three days there are spiritual workshops, a conference of awareness, creative workshops, parties, dancing, relaxation and freedom. There is a large swimming pool, expansive lawns, quiet places to meditate, camping areas, sleeping rooms, kid’s activities and natural vegetarian food on sale. Drawing on the teachings of Osho there are more than 1000 different experiences on offer at the festival in 10 air-conditioned halls and across the green campus. Workshops include dance movement, silence workshops, nutritional awareness, breathing and feeling, yoga, body therapy, meditation and relationship workshops among others. At night there are musical performances on three stages by leading artists and a great festival atmosphere. The range of musical genres includes everything from spiritual music, punk and grove to mellow acoustic and mystical Indian music. The parties beneath the stars continue late into the night.Practical InformationWhere: Giv’at Haviva, off route #574 between Barkai, Gan Hashomron and Harish.When: July/August each year.Cost: Tickets include all festival events approximately 320ILS-420ILS depending when you buy the tickets. This price includes the use of the camp ground. If you prefer it is possible to rent a room on the campus.Contact: 052 888 3040
By Petal Mashraki

Jerusalem Open Restaurants Festival 2017

The Jerusalem OPEN RESTAURANT Festival 2017 is an urban culinary festival held from 14th to 18th November 2017. The festival takes place at venues across Jerusalem and includes many different activities and events. Foodies will love this unique festival which has also been held in Tel Aviv and Amsterdam. The festival events are multidisciplinary and showcase Jerusalem’s cultural institutions, restaurants, culinary personalities and cuisine. Festival events will include food tours, talks, activities for kids, tastings, a competition for the best promising chef and social events. The highlight of the OpenRestaurant Festival is the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” in top Jerusalem restaurants, meet the chefs and see what happens in the kitchens.About the Jerusalem Open Restaurant FestivalThose attending festival events will have an opportunity to meet leading chefs; get to know Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market; sample the city’s best food and even create their own culinary delicacies. The events will be held at a number of venues. Many of the events will take place in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda Market others are held in top restaurants. Leading Israeli chefs will conduct the workshops and tastings and food vendors, line-cooks and restaurateurs will also be involved. Most of the events at the festival are kosher but there are those that are non-kosher. Some of the events and workshops are free and others require a small fee. Most of the festival events are conducted in Hebrew but there are special packages for tourists which include food tours, workshops and Food Talks.Highlights of This Jerusalem Food FestivalAmong the special events there is an empanadas workshop at Argento Empanadas; A Tribute to the Kitchen of Rama at Rama’s Kitchen; an Evening of Pickling at Hamifaal; Jerusalem inside a Pita Bread at the Dwini Pita Bar and from Asia with Love at Station 9. All of these are top Jerusalem restaurants and the events are run by leading personalities in the Israeli culinary world. The public are invited to enjoy a tasting menu at Machneyuda, one of the country’s top restaurants. Machneyuda also invites the public to enjoy A Jungle of Desserts. At the restaurant Yudale Chef Asaf Seri will take visitors on a behind the scenes tour and show them his favorite market stalls. Take a hands-on baking workshop with confectioner David Laor to learn to make brioche; at The Eucalyptus learn to make easy kubbah and at the restaurant ANNA learn to make handmade pasta.Family and Children’s ActivitiesThere are some events specifically designed for families and kids.The family events will be held at the Bloomfield Science Museum and the First Station Park. In addition kids can join hands-on workshops at Roladin bakery; attend a sushi workshop at Sushi Rehavia and join the Machane Yehuda Market tours. These activities are suitable for children between 6yrs and 18 years. Children must be accompanied by an adult.How to ParticipateYou can buy tickets for the festival online at the Open-Restaurants website. If you want to attend an event that is already fully booked your name will be put on a waiting list. If a place becomes available you will be contacted. All orders must be made and paid for online in advance. Prices range from 30 ILS to 300 ILS and last an hour to three hours long. Among the free events there are Food Talks; the Culinary Innovation Summit and the Food and Hospitality Hackathon. At the Hackathon leaders in the food tech industry will host workshops and try to devise how we can improve our current culinary norms. Although these events are free you still need to book your place online. Apart from the events geared towards children all other events are for participants over 18 years old. Most of the events at the festival are kosher but there are those that are non-kosher. Some of the events and workshops are free and others require a small fee. Most of the festival events are conducted in Hebrew but there are special packages for tourists which include food tours, workshops and Food Talks.
By Petal Mashraki
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