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.

What’s Happening in Israel during February 2016

February events include many musical highlights such as several concerts by visiting international artists and musical festivals. As Israel heads into spring the meadows of the Negev burst into color with wild flowers and Tel Aviv has one of its most important sporting events.January-February – Darom Adom Festival, Northern NegevanemonesThe annual Anemone Festival or Scarlet South Festival is celebrated between January and March in southern Israel when the forest floor becomes a carpet of red flowers. The red anemones in the parks of the Northern Negev are open to the public to hike, cycle and visit local kibbutzim. The blossoming fields are only about an hour drive from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The festival is hosted by the Sedot Shikma Besor Tourism Organization and is held in the national KKL-JNF park areas. There will be free information stations, free guided excursions, fun activities and a walk along the edge of the flower-carpeted red meadows. Although the flowers will probably be in bloom throughout the month the special festival events are held on weekends where there will be musical performances, sporting event and fun for all ages. Check the KKL-JNF website for updates about when the flowers will be in bloom. On Fridays and Saturdays in February you can get more information from the information stations at Yad Mordechai and Beit Kama Junctions from 9am to 3pm. There may be changes to scheduled events in the event of bad weather. On Saturdays additional information stations will be open at Ruhama Kibbutz, Reim Recreation Area (Beeri Forest), at the southern and northern entrance to Besor Road and at Pura Nature Reserve. At the Shokeda Community Forest there will be an 18km cycle trail. At the Ruhama Badlands Nature Reserve there will be a number of walking trails of various lengths for all the family. At the Negev Beerot Center on Kibbutz Alumim you can enjoy related movie screenings.5-6 February – Alphaville, Mann Auditorium, Tel AvivThe German group Alphaville which rose to fame in the 1980s led by lead singer Marian Gold will be performing two concerts only in Tel Aviv this February. The band is best known for hits such as Big in Japan, Jet Set, Sounds Like a Melody, Forever Young and Dance with Me. The band’s catchy synth pop has kept generations of music lovers enthralled. They will be performing their well known classics as well as more recent releases from their albums RTL2 100 Tubes Annees 80 and Catching Rays on Giants which featured the single I Die For You Today. Also included in the concert will be works created in 2015 from the albums So80s and Synth Pops.11-13 February – The Red Sea Jazz Festival, EilatJazz FestivalThe annual Eilat jazz festival features performers from Israel and around the world. Performances will take place at the Eilat King Solomon Hotel, Royal Garden Hotel and the Royal Beach Hotel. Among the artists performing this year will be Shlomo Gronich and the Non-Standard Project; David Helbock’s Random/Control featuring three musicians and twenty instruments; the a-cappella sextet SLIXS and Jane Bordeaux performing Israeli country folk music. Voodoo Jazz will perform their brand of music which is reminiscent of the jazz genre’s origins. The American organ trio Goldings, Bernstein and Stewart will be celebrating 25 years on the stage. Among the Israeli performers will be Geva Alon and Daniela Spector collaborating for a special performance of Israeli folk music. Also appearing at the festival will be Cuban pianist, Alfredo Rodriguez who has stunned the world with his virtuoso performances. The Grammy Award winning Ukrainian-born jazz pianist Ruslan Sirota will be enthralling audiences and the PaCoRa Trio will be performing their Slovak inspired jazz. Israeli musician Dida will be performing “the love stories of an Israeli vocalist in New York.”February 18 – DJs W&W, Haoman 17, Tel AvivThe Dutch trance and electro house duo of DJs, Willem van Hanegem and Ward van der Harst will be performing in Tel Aviv this February. The duo specializes in progressive house, progressive trance, Dutch house music and big room house music. They shot to fame with the release of their studio album Impact in 2011 and have since released a number of singles as lead artists and performed at events including Tomorrowland and Ultra Worldwide. One of their biggest successes was the single Bigfoot in 2014 and in 2015 they released If It Ain’t Dutch with Armin van Buuren. W&W are also known for a number of remixes including a remix of Adele’s Hello together with Kenneth G Bootleg. The two are at the forefront of the electro music industry and continue to pave the way for innovative sounds.24-25 February – Jethro Tull, Mann Auditorium, Tel AvivThis iconic British rock group formed in the 60s is led by lead vocalist Ian Anderson. Their first album Stand Up reached #1 on the British charts and they continued to create innovative music shifting from progressive rock to hard rock and mixing in some folk rock. The band has sold over 60 million albums worldwide. Rolling stone described Jethro Tull as “eccentric progressive rock.” The bands unique style and diverse musical talents make it an exciting and dynamic live show. The band will be performing in Tel Aviv as part of the “JETHRO TULL The Rock Opera performed by Ian Anderson” tour which celebrates the life of Jethro Tull, an English agricultural inventor. The show incorporates well known Jethro Tull songs plus performances by guest artists. Among the songs included in the show there will be The Witch’s Promise, Farm on the Freeway, Heavy Horses and Aqualung.26 February – Tel Aviv Marathon, Tel AvivmarathonThe Tel Aviv Marathon takes place on the streets of the city leading runners passed landmark buildings and along the stunning Tel Aviv beachfront. The race is multi-course with opportunities for runners of all levels to participate from families with kids to professional runners. Over 40,000 runners are expected to participate in the full-marathon, half-marathon, 10km, 5km and kids mini-marathon. In addition there will be a 42km handcycle race for people with special needs. The race kicks off at HaYarkon Park just opposite the Luna Park amusement park and follows the Yarkon River down towards the beachfront. The longer courses take runners into the old port city of Jaffa and along iconic Tel Aviv boulevards. Along the route there will be stages set up for live musical performances and several activities and celebrations for spectators.February 27-28 – Greg Dulli, Mayumana, Tel AvivJoin this much-loved American performer for “An Evening with Greg Dulli.” The singer will perform his classic songs as well as his latest numbers. Dulli caught the public’s eye with the band, Afgan Wings and went on to form The Twilight Singers. Together they released 5 albums. In 1994 he became the lead vocalist for the Backbeat Band recording the soundtrack for the Beatles biographical film Backbeat together with top artists like Mike Mills and Dave Grohl. In 2014 Dulli rejoined the Afgan Wings and they released their album “Do To the Beast.” Dulli’s performance in Tel Aviv is part of a 31 city solo tour presenting an intimate “evening with Greg Dulli.”1-28 February – Shaon Horef, JerusalemWinter Noise is a festival organized by the Youth Authority of the Jerusalem Municipality. It is a series of cultural events held in the streets of Jerusalem. On offer will be street theatre, musical performances, video art, dance performances, master classes, cookery demonstrations and workshops, exhibitions and street parties. Thousands of people are expected to participate in these fun events which are mostly free and there is no need to book ahead. The events will take place on Mondays throughout February (2nd, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th February): 2 February- Mahane Yehuda Market. The opening events of the festival at the famous Mahane Yehuda Market will include events which take place in the many cafes, stores, restaurants, galleries, studios and private homes in and around the market. Among the top events will be a toga party, swing dancing lessons on the street, video instillations projected on the buildings, musical jam sessions and a sing-along in a Russian bar. 9 February – Havatselet Complex. This Monday’s events include a workshop of Ethiopian cooking, a Moroccan party hosted by the secular yeshiva, lip-sync karaoke, a dance recital, a performance by Non Profit Band celebrating the release of their new album and a lecture on politics in the Facebook era. 16 February – Shoshan Complex. Cheer on the men taking part in the Drag Race, where men done high-heels and try to run through the streets. Other events include an evening with young Russian immigrants, an arts and crafts market, a cooking demonstration focused on mince meat and African music among other attractions. 23 February – Talpiot Industrial Area. On this special night of events you can watch the ping pong championships, see film festival screenings, hip hop performances and talk-show type interviews with leading Israeli celebs.
By Petal Mashraki

Safed Klezmer Festival

Klezmer: a Yiddish word meaning musical instruments; it is an Ashkenazi and Eastern European Jewish musical tradition which originated in the 18th century among Hasidic Jews.saxophoneEach August the hilltop city of Safed welcomes thousands of local and international visitors to the biggest Jewish soul music festival in the world. This is one of Israel’s largest and most important festivals. At the festival there will be performances by numerous Klezmer groups and solo artists.The Klezmer musicians are mainly from Israel but there are also several international groups. Throughout the historic alleys and streets of Safed temporary stages are set up each year so that the festival can take place outdoors, on the streets for all to enjoy. Some of the performances will be given in Safed’s historic public buildings like the Red Khan. All of the performances at the festival are free.In addition to the musical performances of Klezmer music there will be other festival activities including “Klezmerim for kids” a workshop where kids can get involved creating and learning more about the Klezmer tradition. There will be workshops for professional musicians and Klezmer master classes conducted by leading artists in this field. There will also be tours of the city and workshops for those interested in Kabala, the mystical Jewish tradition which originated in Safed. Local artists will be selling their creations at market stalls and there will be food stands to provide delicious local delicacies. Visitors to Safed can come for one night or for all three of the festival days as there will be constant events, activities and performances. This festival is intended for both secular and religious visitors – so long as they like music!Practical Information: When: mid-August, annuallyWhere: Throughout the old city of Safed. If driving to Safed for the festival park your car at the designated parking lot outside the city and take the free shuttle.Admission: Free
By Petal Mashraki

Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts Fair 2016

The Chutzot Hayotzer Fair (Arts and Crafts Fair) is an exciting annual event held in one of the most magical places in Jerusalem – Sultan’s Pool alongside the walls of the Old City. The fair is a lot more than an exhibition or market it is also a place of entertainment for the whole family with the atmosphere of a European carnival. The event is presented by the Jerusalem Municipality. In the gorgeous setting of Sultan’s Pool artists set up stalls displaying their creations. In addition there is a lineup of top Israeli artists performing well loved songs; children’s entertainment; shows for toddlers; Israeli and international entertainers; street performers; circus performers; a beer garden; design exhibitions and artists workshops.Among the arts and crafts on display and for sale there are works by weavers, hand-made jewelry, cobblers, calligraphers, sculptors, painters and ceramic artists. Visitors can not only see the arts and crafts but they can also meet the artists and in some cases see them at work. Among the Israeli art exhibited there is stained glass, hand-made puppets, textiles, wood work, metal work and sculptures. International artists will be demonstrating their skills. There will be artists from Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Salvador, Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina, Armenia, Ghana, Germany, South Africa, India, Hungary, Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Madagascar, Macedonia, Mexico, China, Sri Lanka, Czech Republic, South Korea, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Russia, Bolivia and Brazil. The artists from each of these nations brings with them their own unique style and traditional arts and crafts. And of course no Israeli event is complete without some good food and drink. You’ll be able to get a great cup of coffee, cold drinks, wine or beer as well as a variety of foods.Practical Information:Where: Sultan’s Pool, Hebron Road, JerusalemWhen: 15-27 August 2016 – Sunday-Thursday 10am-5pm; Fridays and holiday eves 10am-2pmContact: 02-6457113Admission: Adults 65ILS; students, youths (13yrs-18yrs), seniors, soldiers, Jerusalem residents, groups 55ILS; children (5yrs-12yrs) 30ILS.
By Petal Mashraki

March 2016 Special Events

March holds many exciting and unique events; there are musical festivals, spiritual retreats, sporting events and the Purim Festival. Purim is one of the best times to visit Israel as there are street parties, parades and many special events.10-12 March – Healing Sound Festival in the Desert 2016, Desert AshramThis unique festival is in its 8th year, it is held in the Desert Ashram, a place of meditation, peace and spirituality in the surreal surroundings of the desert where participants can disconnect from the rat race to be “healed” by music. The 3 day festival explores the meaning and power of music through live performances, lectures and workshops. The festival includes dance performances and film screenings, poetry readings, holistic dance, yoga and drum circles. Each day the concert performances will be given in a different scale (440Hz, 432Hz and 444Hz) to see how this affects the body, soul and mind. The music will be transformed into visual geometric patterns which dance across large screens. Musical genres range from Reggae and classical music to traditional sacred music. A variety of food will be served at the event including vegan and vegetarian and accommodation will be in tents spread across the ashram. There will also be rooms available to rent for the duration of the festival. Later during the Purim festival there is another festival at the Desert Ashram, this time entitled “Imagine.”16-19 March – EPOS-International Art Film Festival 2016, Tel Aviv Museum of ArtThis all encompassing festival includes films which highlight all aspects of the arts such as the spoken word, dance, theatre, plastic arts and music. Visitors to the festival can enjoy a diverse range of presentations from Israel and abroad. The films will be screened in their original language with Hebrew subtitles. Among the 47 films being screened there is one about award winning writer Toni Morrison; the story of the first black prima ballerina, Misty Copeland; a film about the preparations for Jewish New Year; about the efforts of a group of Pakistani musicians trying to revive their traditional music and a film about choreographer Sidi Larbi. The films come from countries like Poland, China, Belgium, Norway, the USA, UK, Estonia, France, Japan and of course Israel. The subject matter is truly diverse and fascinating.18 March – Jerusalem Marathon 2016, Gan Saker, JerusalemThe annual Jerusalem Marathon takes place through the streets of the Holy City passed landmark monuments and historical sites. Anyone can join in to run the full marathon (42.2km), half-marathon, 10k run, 5km run or the family race. All of the courses start and finish in the Saker Park (Gan Saker) where there will be happenings, food stalls and musical performances. Also on offer at in the park will be fitness classes and warm-up exercises run by top Israeli sports trainers. In addition you can join in Zuma classes, aerobics and dance lessons. On sale will be athletic equipment and sports attire. Throughout the days running up to the marathon there will be a number of special events related to health and fitness. A special Sport Expo will be held from 15th-16th March from 3pm to 10pm and on the 17th at the Jerusalem Pais Arena. If you are planning on being a spectator then recommended look-out points include the Bezalel-Ben-Zvi Blvd junction, Plomer Square, MIshkenot Sha’ananim, Oranim Junction, Hamashbir Plaza on King George Street, the Jaffa Gate, Safra Square, the Railway Complex and Emek Refaim. If you want to take part in the Jerusalem Marathon you can register online.17-19 March – Rock Festival Fattal, Herods Hotel, EilatThe Fattal hotel chain’s hotels in Eilat will be taken over by an amazing festival over the weekend. This will be the festival’s fourth year when they rock the Red Sea. The 3 day festival features 7 concerts, 10 musical groups and over 2,000 people are expected to attend. It is the largest rock festival in Israel and features live performances by leading Israeli rockers. Among the performers there will be Rami Fortis, a veteran Israeli rocker also famous as one of the judges on Israel’s version of X Factor. Other talents include Riki Gal, Juda Poliker, Monica Sex, Avraham Tal, HaTikva 6, Miri Mesika and Yuval Dayan. Aviv Geffen is one of the stars of the festival and a famed judge on Israel’s The Voice. Entrance is to over 18s only.March 28 – Jerusalem Arts Festival 201620 Jerusalem Theatre, Khan Theatre, YMCA Hall, Lev Smadar Cinema, the Yellow Submarine, Ha’Kubia, Shimshon Center and other Jerusalem venues. The Culture and Art Department of the Jerusalem Municipality organizes this week long celebration of the arts; 2016 will be the 15th annual festival of this kind. The aim is to promote and nurture creativity in diverse fields of the arts and to present affordable cultural events of a high quality. The admission prices are kept low so that everyone can afford to attend and some of the events are open to the general public for free. Performances range from art exhibition, film screenings and dramatical performances to music and dance. Performances are by both professional and up-and-coming artists. There will also be outdoor performances in the Plaza of the Jerusalem Theatre and in the various neighborhoods of Jerusalem. Check out the Jerusalem Municipality website for precise dates and times of performances.23-24 March – Purim Festival and parade, Tel Aviv, Holon, Haifa, JerusalemPurim is a Jewish festival which starts on the eve of March 23 and continues into the next day; however the parties and celebrations take place throughout the preceding week. Purim celebrates an event in Jewish history when the evil Haman was prevented from carrying out a massacre of the Jewish people. This story is told in the Biblical Book of Ester. It is traditional to dress up in fancy dress, give and receive food baskets and drink until you “fall asleep from drunkenness.” So with that as the guiding principle Israelis do their best to party until they drop during the Purim festival. This includes many fancy dress parties in bars and night clubs as well as official Purim parades in the larger cities. The most famous and elaborate of these parades takes place in Holon, a city close to Tel Aviv. Other major parades take place in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa. The parade dates and times can change due to the weather but they usually take place at about 11am. Watch municipal websites for the announcement of final dates. In addition there is an official Tel Aviv Purim street party held in Tel Aviv starting from when the parade (Adloyada) comes to an end. The party usually hosts leading DJs and live performances. All those attending are welcome to get into the mood and come dressed in fancy dress. Most of the other major cities also hold street parties at the end of the parade.25 March – Zombie Walk, Tel Aviv, 9pmFor the fifth consecutive year Tel Aviv will be holding a Zombie Walk as part of its Purim celebrations. Purim is associated with dressing up in fancy dress so the Zombie Walk was thought up to bring out the creative zombies! Locals and visitors can dress up, put on dramatic make-up, add accessories and turn themselves into zombies to join in the walk through the streets of Tel Aviv. The zombie invasion through the streets of Tel Aviv will start on the corner of King George Street and Ben Tsiyon Blvd, Tel Aviv.28-31 March – Sounds Festival 2016, Jerusalem Old City.This annual festival is in its fifth year; it aims to give a glimpse into the world of traditional Old City music by offering performances of authentic music unique to each of the Old City’s four Quarters. The performances by ensemble groups and musical bands will take place on temporary stages set up along the roads and in the courtyards in each of the Old City Quarters. The music performed on each stage will be traditionally connected to the location where it is performed. The music will be of a wide variety creating a magical atmosphere in the Old City. In the Armenian Quarter you will be able to hear authentic Armenia festival music; in the Muslim Quarter hear Middle Eastern music related to the Islamic traditions and in the Christian Quarter there will be Christian liturgical pieces performed. In the Jewish Quarter you will be able to see performances of traditional Hasidic music and modern Jewish music. Visitors can stroll through the streets of the Old City from Quarter to Quarter enjoying the performances for free. The stages will be placed along a circular route starting at the Jaffa Gate and leading visitors through all four of the city’s Quarters until they arrive back at the Jaffa Gate.
By Petal Mashraki

May 2015 Events in Israel

Many international stars are scheduled to perform in Israel this May. In addition we have several fun Jewish holidays and annual festivals.2 May – Robbie Williams, Park HaYarkonRobbie WilliamsBritish pop rock star Robbie Williams will be performing his multiple hits like Angels, Come Undone and She’s the One. The concert will be part of the singer’s European tour Let Me Entertain You and will be his first appearance in Israel.4-9 May – Felicja Blumental Music Festival, Tel AvivThis annual festival combines choral, orchestral and chamber classical music together with film, theatre and folk music. The festival is named in honor of Polish pianist and composer Felicja Blumental. The festival has launched many successful local careers and this year includes performers from Portugal, Italy, the Ukraine and Israel.6 May – Lag B’Omer, across the countryOn the night of the 6th May Israelis take to the parks, streets, fields and any available open space to light bonfires. The celebration of this Jewish holiday usually involves BBQ and staying up late sitting around the bonfire. Visitors to Israel can enjoy strolling from fire to fire and joining in the festive atmosphere.7 – 16 May – DocAviv, Cinematheque Tel AvivTel-Aviv the CinematequeThe Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival aims to promote documentary films in Israel. The main venue is the Tel Aviv Cinematheque but there will also be outdoor screenings at the Tel Aviv port and in public areas. In addition to the 90 film screenings the festival will be hosting film professionals for discussion panels, master classes and lectures.7 May – Lauryn Hill, Rishon LeZion Park Live AmphitheatreLauryn Hill,Famed hip hop singer-songwriter Lauryn Hill is best known from her performance as part of The Fugees. The Grammy award winning artist is famed for songs like Doo Wop (That Thing) and Everything is Everything. At her Tel Aviv concert she will perform songs from her solo career as well as classic The Fugees songs like Killing Me Softly.8 – 19 May – Tsar’s Bride, Tel Aviv Performing Arts CenterThe Novaya Opera Company from Moscow will be returning to Israel to perform Nikolai Rimsky Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride. This classic opera is full of passionate love, jealousy, betrayal and murder.16 May – Jerusalem Day, across the countryThis holiday commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem after the Six Day War in 1967. Celebrations include state ceremonies, memorial services, prayers at the Wailing Wall and you will encounter street parties, street decorations and special events in honor of the county’s capital. Although celebrated throughout the country a bigger deal is made of the event in Jerusalem.19 May – Dionne Warwick, Menorah Mivtachim Tel AvivDionne WarwickThe legendary soul singer will perform some of her greatest hits like Walk on By and I’ll Say a Little Prayer for You. 74 year old Warwick has collaborated with Stevie Wonder (That’s What Friends are For), Gladys Knight, Elton John and more recently with Ziggy Marley, Ne-Yo and CeeLo. This iconic artist is also a 5 times Grammy winner and known for her riveting stage performances.19-21 May – Backstreet Boys, Raanana AmphitheatreThe 90s pop idols of this boy band include A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell. All the Boys will be on the stage of Raanana’s beautiful amphitheatre this month. They will sing their best loved hits like I Want It That Way, Larger than Life, Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely and Shape of my Heart.20 – 24 May – Midburn Festival, Negev Desert2015 will be the second year of this unique festival held in the Negev Desert. A temporary communal settlement is set up in the desert. The festival provides a creative and artistic platform for all participants to express themselves. There will be music, dancing, spiritual activities, yoga, meditation, extreme sports, activities for families, art, food and camping. There are no visitors or spectators only participants.23-24 May – Shavuot, throughout the countryThis Jewish holiday commemorated the receiving of the Torah on Mount Sinai and it is also a harvest festival. The holiday is celebrated with parties, family meals and the eating of dairy products and fresh produce. There will be delicious cheese cakes and pastries in the bakeries and special yogurts and cheeses offered in cafes. It is traditional to study all night on the 23rd May and you can find all-night English Torah classes in Jerusalem. There is a special prayer service at the Wailing Wall as the sunrises on the 24th May which can be very emotional.23 May – Israel Festival, JerusalemProfessional Israeli and international artists will perform in a number of unique venues throughout Jerusalem. The venues are chosen for their aesthetic value and can include Sultan’s Pool, the Old Station, Israel Museum, the YMCA, Jerusalem Theatre and the International Convention Center. In addition to the paid events there are many free performances in public areas like the Old Station (First Station). Here you can see street performers and live musical performances for free.28 May – One Republic, Park HaYarkonPop rock band One Republic will perform one concert only in Israel this May. They will play hits like Apologize, Good Life and Counting Stars. The band includes lead vocalist Ryan Tedder and Zach Filikins on guitar. Their visit to Israel is part of the band’s world tour to promote their latest album.29-31 May – Jazz Festival, Tel AvivA wide spectrum of jazz styles by local and international artists will be performed at this annual festival. Musicians and singers are both professional and new comers, traditional and modern. Performances include Daniel Zamir playing songs from Fiddler on the Roof, Corey Wilkes Quartet, Chihiro Yamanaka, the Andalusian Orchestra, Nicola Stilo, Gary Bartz Quartet, Ethiopian Jazz and Roy Cambell and Ehran Duo. Free jazz performances can be seen in the Cinematheque Plaza on Wednesday and Thursday evening and Friday afternoon.
By Petal Mashraki

April 2015 Events in Israel

April is a great time to visit Israel, not only is the weather perfect but there are many events and religious holidays. Here are the top events, holidays and happenings in Israel in April 2015.April 3-10 – Passover, across the countryPassoverThe Jewish Passover holiday lasts for 8 days. The first day of Passover is kept like a religious Shabbat – it is a non-working day, stores and places of entertainment are closed. Most Jewish Israeli’s spend this first day with their families. During the rest of Passover everything is open and Israeli kids have a school holiday. Some companies work half-day throughout the Passover week. The one difference which visitors will notice is that bread and products made with flour are almost completely unavailable. Many restaurants now make bread and rolls without flour during Passover and in Arab cities and some remote stores you will still be able to get bread. At the end of the week-long Passover holiday there is another one-day religious holiday observed like a Shabbat. As you can see from the following list there are many events, activities and festivals during Passover so it is a great time to visit Israel. With all Jewish holidays remember that the holiday begins at sundown the night before and continues until sundown on the day of the holiday. So for example this year Passover begins at sundown on 3rd April and continues until sundown on the 4th April.April 2-5 – Easter, JerusalemIf you are in Jerusalem on March 29th then you can join in the procession which goes from the Mount of Olives, through the Old City to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Priests and Christians from around the world carry palm fronds, sing, pray and chant as they make the procession. Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday) is on the 2nd April, traditionally the Patriarch of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre washes the feet of his priests mirroring the actions of Jesus as he washed his disciples’ feet. There are special prayer services in many churches especially in the Old City of Jerusalem.On Good Friday (3rd April) you can join in the procession of people who follow the Via Dolorosa through the Old City. This is the route Jesus took carrying his cross towards his crucifixion. The procession ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This is unique and once-in-a-life-time experience for Christians visiting the Holy Land. Easter Sunday on the 5th April is marked with the Catholic Easter Mass in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Protestants hold a service at the Garden Tomb early in the morning and watch the sunrise. At noon the Ceremony of the Holy Fire is held in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, church bells ring, candles are lit and there is a spiritual atmosphere throughout the Christian Quarter of the Old City.April 6-8 – Stone in the Galilee Sculpture SymposiumStone in the Galilee Sculpture SymposiumIf you want to get out of the city and see a little of Israel’s magnificent countryside then take a trip to Ma’a lot Tarshiha. Ma’a lot Tarshiha lies inland from Nahariya. It is a city established in the 1960s by merging the Arab town of Tarshiha with the Jewish town of Ma’a lot. On the edge of the city is the beautiful man-made Lake Monfort with landscaped gardens surrounding it. At this annual symposium sculptors from Israel and abroad create sculptures from large blocks of Galilee stone. The creations are displayed near the lake. Each year there is a theme to the symposium and this year it is “Futuristic Stone Sculptures.” After seeing the sculptures you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings. There will be arts and crafts stalls, food on sale, activities for families and much more. For more details see the Ma’a lot Tarshiha website – 5-8 – Ein Gev Music FestivalThis annual Hebrew song festival has been held for more than 70 consecutive years at the Ein Gev Kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The festival features live musical performances by well known, and lesser known singers. The music is mainly Israeli music and choral singing. In addition to the musical portion of the festival there will be activities in the port area, children’s shows and mini-train rides around the kibbutz. The kibbutz is one of the most beautiful in the area and has many facilities for visitors including a restaurant, camping and guesthouse.April 10 – MimounaWhen Passover is finished as the sun goes down on the 10th April religious Jews who have abstained from eating bread or other foods containing flour for an entire week celebrate with the Mimouna! Mimouna is a Moroccan tradition with singing, dancing, traditional Moroccan costumes and lots of delicious food. Each city organizes a Mimouna in tents, parks or halls but perhaps the most impressive place to join in the Mimouna is at Gan Sacher, Jerusalem. The evening starts with the Moroccan women kneading dough, then they prepare the traditional mofletta, fried crepe-like dough that is then smothered with honey. Although it is essentially a Moroccan tradition today Israelis from all ethnic groups join in. Some people hold a Mimouna party in their homes and it is traditional to leave the front door open and welcome in all guests without invitation.April 7-11 – Zorba the Buddha Festival, Ashram DesertThis 5 day festival includes workshops, parties, concerts and a gathering of fun and peace loving people. The motto of the festival is “Think Less, Feel More!” The festival is a celebration of the whole being. The festival will be divided into several areas. The in the main area you can explore meditation with live music, see performances and take yoga classes. Other areas of the festival include breathing rebirthing workshops, Osho workshops, alternative therapies including tribal fusion and hi Kong. There will be theatre, role playing, yoga, healing circles, Shamanism workshops, music for the soul, health workshops, acrobalance, Sangha and much more. Entrance to the festival is for those over 21 years looking for silence, meditation and peace. The Ashram is in the Shitim settlement on route 40. For more information call 052-5443349 or visit the Ashram website.April 16 – Holocaust Memorial DayHolocaust Day is a normal working day and your travel plans won’t be disturbed too much by this day. There are ceremonies and the laying of wreaths at certain memorials throughout the country but kids go to school and adults go to work. Like all Jewish holidays Holocaust Memorial Day starts the night before at sundown on the 15th April and ends at sundown on the 16th April. At 10am on the 16th an air-raid siren is sounded across the country and everyone, no matter where they are or what they are doing, stops and stands still for a minute in memory of those lost in the Holocaust.April 5-9 – Holon Design WeekA variety of events and exhibitions will be held for the whole family at the Design Museum Holon. This will be the 5th year that the event has been held. There will be two new exhibitions on display as well as a selection of the museum collection. In addition to the exhibitions at the museums there will be design exhibition in the municipal galleries around the city. At the Israel Center for Digital Art in Holon there will be a sound exhibition and the Israel Cartoon Museum will also be launching a new exhibition. During Design Week there will be activities at the Holon Institute of Technology as at the Mediatheque Complex Holon. During Design Week entrance to the Design Museum will be reduced to 20ILS for adults and kids up to 18 years old enter for free. For more details about events and exhibitions contact the Holon Design Museum at +972 7 32151515 or at 23– Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut)Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut), across countryIf you like to party then this is one of the best days of the year to visit Israel. In each city the municipalities set up public stages and there are live performances. The streets are decorated and there are food stalls, entertainment, bright lights and lots of fun. In the larger cities nightclubs hold special parties all night long and the next day if you are not sleeping off a hang-over there are more activities. The parties are from sundown on the 22nd April.
By Petal Mashraki

New Years Eve 2017/2018

New Years is not officially celebrated in Israel, and the 1st January is not a public holiday; however there are many private businesses and places of entertainment which make the most of an opportunity to party! National and religious holidays in Israel are celebrated according to the Jewish calendar, which means Jewish New Year is celebrated in September/October. Luckily this year (2013/2014) December 31st 2013 falls on a Tuesday and not on a Friday night (when many businesses don’t open) so there will be no restriction on bars, restaurants and clubs staying open. Take into account that the clubs open late in Tel-Aviv and stay open until the early hours of the morning. In Israel you will hear the Gregorian calendar New Year referred to as “Sylvester” as it is celebrated as Saint Sylvester’s Day in many countries.Celebrating New Years Eve 2018 in Tel-AvivSome of the most popular areas in Tel-Aviv for nightlife are Allenby Street area, Florentin neighborhood, Jaffa, the Tel-Aviv beachfront and the Tel-Aviv port. For chic bars and restaurants try the area around Rothschild Blvd., Dizengoff and Neve Tsedek.You’ll find all the Tel-Aviv bars and restaurants offering special New Years Eve parties or menus. HaMaoz is a popular place to celebrate in a chic and intimate environment. Enjoy the views from the Brown Hotel Rooftop Bar at Kalisher 35. The Hoodna Bar at 13 Abarbanel in the trendy Florentin neighborhood is one of the hot spots this year. The Block will be celebrating with stand-up performances and a number of performers like Shalom Hinuch, Bend al Kunk, Oded Kfri and Forrobodo. At the Shablul Jazz Club there will be a Sylvester Blues Party with the Mark Rashkow Band. At the Ozen Bar concert and screening club, there is going to be a 90s retro party with DJ Hajjaj, the party starts at 22:00 and entrance is 35NIS. For something unusual and a chance to meet Israelis you can enjoy a meal at an Israeli’s home on New Years Eve (350NIS). This is organized through the website “EatWith.”For the gay community there are plenty of parties including at a drag show at Evita for over 19s (Yavne 31); a New Years Eve party at the Apolo Club (Allenby 46) and a party at Wink (Ben Yehuda 77).
By Petal Mashraki

June 2015 Events in Israel

With summer just around the corner the arts and cultural scene in Israel heats up. June brings with it festivals, music, gay pride, dance, opera and international star performers.3-11 June – Light in Jerusalem, Old City JerusalemLight in JerusalemThe Old City of Jerusalem is lit up along four routes through the meandering cobble streets. Each route is lit in a different color and as visitors pass along the routes there are performances of music, art work from around the world, video presentations, instillations and 3D displays.3-14 June – Opera Festival at MasadaFor the 5th consecutive year there will be an amazing opera performance at the foot of Mount Masada. You can enjoy Puccini’s La Tosca or Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana each with the cliffs of Masada as the backdrop. The large-scale open-air performances make use of huge sets, elaborate lighting, multimedia and a large cast of performers.5-6 June, Goovestock Festival, Ramat NegevThis will be the first Groovestock Festival, it will include top Israeli pop and Middle Eastern performing artists. The unique environment, in the heart of the Negev Desert will add an amazing atmosphere to the event. Together with artists like Dudu Tassa, the Eccentrics and Shai Tsbari there will be top DJs.10 June – Art Garfunkel, Bloomfield Stadium, Tel AvivArt GarfunkelIconic performing artist Art Garfunkel will be in Israel without his legendary partner Paul Simon but he will be performing the duos unforgettable hits like Bridge over Troubled Water, Mrs. Robinson and Mother Mary. The 6 time Grammy award winner’s concert will also feature songs from Garfunkel’s solo career.12-13 June – Sunbeat Global Beats Festival, Galil HaElionJoin hundreds of Israelis in a weekend of non-stop music, dancing and parties. The Global Beats movement takes you on a musical journey through the cultures of Europe, Africa and the Americas. Music from clubs and communities across the globe including Morocco, Berlin and the Greece. On the festival stage the traditional sounds of many cultures will join together. There will be live performances as well as DJs. The festival will be held in the picturesque surroundings of the Galilee.12 June – gay prideTel Aviv, Meir Park Tel AvivTel Aviv has become one of the hottest gay travel destinations in the world and the top event of the year is the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade. Pride week kicks off with speeches, activity booths and musical performances (including the Gay Youth Band of Tel Aviv) at the Gan Meir Gay Center. From here the parade sets out through the streets of Tel Aviv with parade floats, costumed dancers, music and lots of fun. The parade reaches Gordan Beach where the party really gets going. The beach party continues into the evening with top DJs providing the music.19-24 June – Tel Aviv Student Film Festival 2015Students of the Tel Aviv University film and television school present both local and international student films which compete for prizes. In addition to the screenings there will be workshops, master classes, lectures and panel discussions with guests from the film industry.24 June – Damian Marley, Rishon LeZionThe son of Bob Marley is becoming a legend in his own right performing reggae around the world. Jr. Gong, as he is also known, has won 3 Grammy awards and his single Welcome to Jamrock received accolades from Rolling Stone Magazine.24-27 June,Opera Festival L’Elisir D‘Amore,JerusalemThis festival features a performance of Donizetti’s operatic comedy L’Elisir ‘Amore as well as several other concerts which will be held throughout the city. Venues will include the Biblical Lands Museum, the Israel Museum, and the Museum of Italian Jewish Art. There will be concerts geared towards children, liturgical music, chamber music, and more.25 June – White Night Tel AvivThe annual White Night celebration is when the whole city stays awake until dawn. Restaurants, cafes, and stores open until the early hours and the municipality organizes live musical performances, dance performances, poetry readings, workshops, and special events throughout the night. Many of the events are free and others have a minimal fee. Some of the White Night events are indoors and many are outdoors. End the White Night with yoga on the beach as the sun comes up.27 June – Dire Straits, Hall 2 Tel Aviv FairgroundsFormer member of the original iconic ban, Chris White will perform one concert in Israel. White will perform with six top musicians’ songs from the heyday of Dire Straits like Romeo and Juliet, Money for Nothing, and Brothers in Arms.
By Petal Mashraki

What’s On in Israel this August 2015

August is Israel’s hottest month both for the weather and the cultural events. Israeli kids are on summer vacation and attractions and special events work overtime providing entertainment to the many locals and international visitors looking for ways to spend time during the long summer days and nights.4-8 August – Animix Festival, Tel AvivThis is an international festival celebrating animation, caricatures and comics. The event will include screenings, workshops, market stalls, kid’s activities and meet-and-greet events with leading animation artists and producers.The Antlers4 August – The Antlers, Barbie Club Tel Avivthe American electro-rock band will be performing in Israel as part of their international concert tour to promote their album “Familiars.”5 August – Luna, Barbie club Tel AvivFans of 90s indie rock band Luna can see Dean Wareham and his group once again united on one stage. Among their hits they will be performing Tiger Lily and Moon Palace.Contact Point 6 August – , The Israel MuseumThis event opens up the galleries of the Israel Museum at night from 8pm to 2am. You can enjoy a mix of art in the galleries and outdoors in the museum grounds. There will be dancers, singers, musicians and leaders in the entertainment industry providing entertainment for the museum visitors. The aim of this event is to create a contact point between the visitors and the arts and to encourage them to question the regular museum experience.7 July-31 August – TrickArt, Exhibition Grounds Tel AvivA unique and fun art exhibition will give kids and adults a chance to step into the art using optical illusions and interactive exhibits.9 July-29 August – LEGO ParkTel Aviv Exhibition Grounds, 9am-7pm (and until 4:30pm on Fridays) – The LEGO Park is a LEGO themed park with roller coasters, a Ferris wheel, XBOX stations, a Star Wars themed attraction, bumper cars and other amusement park rides as well as loads of LEGO for kids to build their own creations.03-15 August – Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts FairSultan’s Pool, Jerusalem, 6pm-11pm except Friday – Hutzot Hayotzer is a market of arts-and-crafts created by artists from more than 30 countries. The works are displayed in a unique venue and visitors can enjoy free live performances and food stalls.Perseids Meteor Shower, NegevTake a trip to the south into the darkness of the desert or simply find a place undisturbed by urban lights and settle back to watch one of the annual meteor showers. This is one of the easiest meteor shows to see with the naked eye. The shower lasts from 17 July to 24 August but reaches its peak on the 9-13 August.15-31 August – Festival of PuppetTrain Theatre, Khan Theatre, Gerard Behar Center, The First Station and Beit Shmuel – This will be the 24th annual festival celebrating puppet theatre from around the world. Performances are suitable for kids and adults from 2 years old but are best suited to those 2-6 years old. In addition to the productions in several Jerusalem venues there will be free street performances and happenings in front of the Train Theatre which is the main festival venue.17-20 August – Jerusalem Wine FestivalJerusalem – Visitors can attend an outdoor wine tasting event held in the Art Garden of the Israel Museum. While enjoying the gardens and art you can taste around 60 wines, snack on some delicious foods and enjoy live entertainment.18-20 August – Klezmer Festival, SafedThis will be the 28th annual celebration of traditional Jewish soul music. Performers come from across the globe to perform on one stage while other festival attractions include arts-and-crafts markets, kid’s activities and tours of the city.18 August – Mariah Carey in Concert, Rishon LeZionMariah was in Israel on vacation in June but this time she is coming back to perform for the first time in the Holy Land. The star has had 18 Billboard #1 hits, won 5 Grammys and many other awards. Her concert in Israel is not part of a world tour as she is currently the resident artist at Las Vegas’ Caesars palace. The stunning venue is relatively new and can seat 10,000 in the audience.20 August-5 September – Mamma Mia!, Tel Aviv Opera HouseHailed as the “world’s most successful musical” this production is making a return visit to Tel Aviv following its sold-out run. The performance will be in English and includes all the well-loved songs of ABBA.26-27 August – Beer Festival,Jerusalem6pm-11:55pm – At this fun outdoor festival visitors pay a 40ILS cover charge and can enjoy about 150 international and local beers from well known brand name breweries to craft beers. In addition to the beer there will be food stalls and live entertainment including some of Israel’s top artists.Saturday nights in August – Jaffa Nights, The streets of Old Jaffa are closed to traffic and it becomes a huge festival with street performances, market stalls, arts-and-crafts and parties until dawn.
By Petal Mashraki

Hot Summer Events in Israel 2014

Tel-Aviv is a hot travel destination all year round but in the summer the city’s dynamic cultural and social calendar goes even further to wow visitors and locals. Among the many art exhibitions, visiting performing artists and sites of the city there are a few unique and interesting events worth checking out in Tel-Aviv this summer.Tel-Aviv Water FightOnce a year locals and visitors jump into the fountains in Rabin Square and use the water to fill up their water guns and buckets, then the water fight begins! Everyone gets soaking wet having a massive, public water fight. Some people dress up in funny costumes like water warriors, fighting a war – but with water. The event is open to everyone and is pure fun!Open-Air Movies ,Banana BeachThroughout Israel’s hottest month everyone is invited to sit back and enjoy the screening of famous and well loved movies on Banana Beach. You can have a drink, enjoy a meal or bring a picnic and see classics movies. The movies start at sundown.Pishpeshuk , Jaffa MarketThe Jaffa flea market is a great place to explore anytime but during the summer the stalls stay open every Thursday night until midnight. In addition to the fun of shopping in the middle of the night there will be live musical performances, street theatre, booths set up for activities and arts and crafts.Hummus Festival ,HaYarkon Park,Israel’s favorite food, humus, is celebrated in this festival organized by one of the most prominent hummus manufacturers. There will be lots of variations on this classic dish and other food stalls as well. Hummus restaurants from around the country set up stalls offering their take on the classic legume. In addition there will be entertainment, Middle Easter music and even belly dancing.Hot Events this Summer in JerusalemIn addition to all the amazing sites in Jerusalem there are several events which happen only in the summer. With the vacation season coming up here is a rundown of some of the hottest events in Jerusalem for summer 2014.Jerusalem International Arts and Crafts FairThe cultural diversity of Israel is evident at this annual event “Chutzot Hayotzer” when the arts and crafts of hundreds of artists are on display. You’ll see unique hand-made items created out of a wide range of materials by Israeli and international craftsmen. In addition to the arts and crafts there will be live musical performances each evening at 21:00, an international culinary fair and an artistic lighting display.Jerusalem Formula Peace Road Show , Jaffa GateSee race cars whizzing through the streets of Jerusalem passed the Cinematheque, Sultan’s Pool, Tower of David, Mamilla Mall, Liberty Bell Park and the Old Train Station. Beautiful cars like Ferraris and Mercedes race cars will speed by and there will be stunt driving demonstrations by Ferrari Challenger cars. In addition there will be a superbike race. Although you can watch the cars for free avid race car fans might want to buy tickets for the grandstands for the best views.International Festival of Puppet theatreThe 23rd Jerusalem Puppet Festival takes place this summer; it hosts puppeteers from Israel and around the world. The five day event includes all styles of puppetry and will appeal to kids and adults alike. Performances take place in four different venues in the city. In addition there will be multi-disciplinary cabarets in the courtyard in the evening.Jerusalem Beer Festival , Independence ParkCome and enjoy a cool beer in the hot Israeli summer. The festival will have over 100 different types of beer on offer as well as live musical performances. This will be the 10th annual Jerusalem Beer Festival. Some of the beer labels will be exclusively for this festival and there will be boutique breweries offering free tastings as well as paid tastings of more established brands.
By Petal Mashraki

Free Hot Winter Events in Jerusalem, Israel 2013/2014

HanukahHanukah is the Jewish festival of lights when each home displays an eight pronged candelabra in the window and lights an additional candle each night. The festival commemorates the events of the 2nd century and the Maccabean revolt against the Greeks, when the Jewish Temple was destroyed and only a small jar of oil remained to light the temple “menorah” or candelabra. A miracle occurred and the oil lasted for 8 nights until more oil could be found. If you’re in Israel during Hanukah 2013 you can take a walk through the streets of Jerusalem to see the flickering lights of the Hanukah menorah in each window. Nachlaot and the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem are two of the oldest neighborhoods where you can see the traditional oil and wick candles in glass cases (to protect them from the wind) in each doorway, window or courtyard.Christmas Tree DecoratingAlthough Christmas is not as evident in Israel as in the western countries it is after all the birth place of Jesus and as such the small Christian community goes all out to make the festive season memorable. In the lobby of the beautiful YMCA building in central Jerusalem the general public are invited to join in decorating Christmas trees. The trees are Arizona cypress trees donated by the Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund. On Christmas Eve (December 24th) at 7pm, you can also attend a Christmas carol family service (in English), share light refreshments and take communion (if you choose) at the YMCA. For more Christmas carol singing and a multilingual Christmas Midnight Mass visit the Pontifical Institute (Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center) at 11:30pm on December 24th.Humor and SatireThe best artists in Israel were asked to create sculptures that reflect happiness, laughter and joy. Their brief was to reinvent laughter and illustrate it is a spectacular way. This is as yet the largest outdoor exhibit in the country featuring 210 sculptures by 63 artists which will be displayed in rotation.
By Petal Mashraki

Knights of the Night Festival in the Jerusalem Old City 2013

Once a year the Old City of Jerusalem reverts to the Middle Ages and visitors can wander the narrow cobbled lanes and encounter scenes with knights doing gallant and valiant acts! The theme of this year’s Knights of the Night Festival is “Knights and Dragons” and entrance to the fun family event is free!As you stroll through the streets of the Old City you may see musicians performing medieval music; dancers in medieval costume; magicians who look remarkably like Merlin and Jesters offering comic relief. Knights and dragons also feature prominently, with re-enacted jousting, sword fights and duels. Town criers ring their bells to beckon pedestrians to the various stages set up for performers and above the streets flags fly. In previous years there have even been performances by costumed “knights” battling as they hang from wires and fly through the air with the ancient city walls as their background.You may see medieval blacksmiths or the local executioner with his big axe waiting in the shadows! In previous years performers from other countries have joined Israelis in the many street shows and in 2013 artists from the Venice Festival will be participating in the event. Peddlers in medieval costume and fire eaters perform as the medieval music permeates the air. You may even see a performance from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet performed from a real balcony or a knight in shining armor rescuing a princess. Get your fortune told by a soothsayer and cheer for the troubadours!For the 2013 Knights Festival some of the stations planned include a knight’s banquet at the Jaffa Gate; a victory parade; a battle between knights and dragons where the audience will be invited to join in; a treasure hunt with audience participation and a half-man-half-dragon chasing after a maiden in distress along St. Peter Street. Adults can purchase a wooden goblet and enter the Knights Bar to quench their thirst.To experience this slice of living history enter the Old City of Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate and follow the circular route to the Muristan Square and back again to the Jaffa Gate. The fun and games will occur from 6pm to 11pm in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City and will be held on the 31st October and 7th, 14th and 21st of November 2013 (consecutive Thursdays). Entrance is free and the event is suitable for the whole family.
By Petal Mashraki
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