Hanukah Events in Israel

By Petal Mashraki | Published on 12/18/2019
Hanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights commemorates the 2nd century BC victory of a small group of Jews that rose up against Greek-Syrian oppressors and were victorious. Known as the Maccabean Revolt, after the leaders, the uprising resulted in the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.

The Maccabees found only a small jar of pure oil to light the temple's seven-branch candelabrum. Yet the oil miraculously lasted eight days. In memory of this miracle and the rededication of the temple Jews around the world celebrate Hanukah by lighting an additional candle on the candelabra (menorah) each night of the holiday. In many places in Israel, you can see public menorah-lighting ceremonies held at sundown each night of Hanukah. In Israel, you can experience the holiday through many special Hanukah events. Here is a selection of the top 2019 Hanukah events in Israel. 

Tel Aviv Independence Park – 22.12.2019 (Gan Ha'atzmaut) Menorah-Lighting Event.

In Tel Aviv's Independence Park, the first candle of Hanukah will be lit in a special ceremony and there will be live musical performances, activities for kids and food stalls.

Tel Aviv International Synagogue – 23.12.2019, 23 Frishman Street, Tel Aviv

The TAIS is organizing a rooftop candle lighting tour in the Old City of Jerusalem followed by a performance of favorite tunes from the Fiddler on the Roof at the Hebrew University. The tour includes transport from the Tel Aviv International Synagogue.

Bavli Community Center – 23.12.2019, 6 Toledano Street, Tel Aviv, 16:30-18:00

The Bavli neighborhood is hosting a Hanukah parade of lights that will travel from the Yarkon Park through Hanna Zemer to the Bavli Community Center where there will be a candle lighting ceremony, live performances and donuts.

Tower of David: Hanukah Menorahs and Christmas Trees Tour of the Old City – 24.12.2019, Old City Jerusalem.

This is a guided 3-hour tour starting at 8:30 pm. The Tower of David also offers a lantern-lit tour starting at 16:30 on the Citadel walls and ending with Hanukah songs, candle lighting and donuts. At the Tower of David, there will be family activities including "Escape the Tower", a family escape rooms experience lasting 1.5 hours. Participants must be over 9 years old. 

HanuChristmas 2019
– 24.12.2019, Habima, Tel Aviv, 21:30-23:30

After a candle-lighting ceremony in Habima Square join others on eco-friendly bikes or skates and role or ride to the Christmas tree in Jaffa. Riders are encouraged to come in Christmas or Hanukah-themed fancy-dress.

Raanana City Lights – 25-26.12.2019, Ahuza Street, Raanana, 10:00-22:00

The small city in the Sharon Area will host, for the first time, a festival of lights along the length of the main street. The festival will include light instillations, art created out of lights; movement performances; street performers; live sculptures; illumination workshops; video installations and food stalls.

Ashdod Lantern Tour – 25.12.2019, meeting point West Hotel Lobby, Ashdod, 19:00

Pre-registration with Ashdod Tourism is necessary for this lamp-light tour of the city. Take a Hanukah tour of Ashdod's streets, Lachish Park along the creek and past various displays of Hanukah menorahs.

Wine on the Vine - 27.12.2019, 3 Elazar Ben Azrya Street, Tel Aviv, 09:00-14:30

WIZO and Wine on the Vine is collaborating to deliver a special Hanukah wine experience in the Elah Valley. Get transportation to and from Tel Aviv and a themed tour through the Elah Valley including two winery visits and a stop at the Maccabee battle site.

Holiday of Holidays – weekends in December, Haifa

On weekends in December, including Hanukah weekends the communities of all faiths in Haifa will be celebrating the Holiday of Holidays with live performances, lectures, markets, street performers, exhibitions, children's activities and tours. 

Safed Chanukah Candle Tours – 22-30.12.2019, Safed (not on Friday night)

Shvil HaLev and Tzfat Kabbalah Center both offer guided evening tours of the Old Jewish Quarter of Safed where you can see Hanukah menorah candles in every window.

Hasmonean Village – Year-round, Shilat

The perfect time to visit Hashmonai Village is during Hanukah when there are special events at the site where a typical ancient Jewish village has been recreated. The whole family can enjoy interactive, fun activities like olive picking, making oil lamps from clay, preparing medicinal herbs and feeding farm animals. 

Sounds of Music in the Desert Festival - 25-28.12.2019, Kibbutz Sde Boker, Upper Negev 

This annual festival is in its 22nd year and brings together some of the country's top musical performers representing a wide range of styles. Enjoy original Israeli music as well as a light show, tours, delicious food and other activities. 

Street Theatre Festival Eilat – 24-26.12.2019, 15:00-19:00 and 27.12.2019, 10:00-14:00 Eilat Museum and Art Gallery Plaza

Enjoy free performances by living statues; street artists; musicians; acrobats and circus performers.

Hanukklayim – 24-26.12.2019, 17:00-21:00 (IDF Square to the Western Wall) and 18:00-23:00 (IDF Square to Rockefeller Museum), Old City Jerusalem

Two routes through the Old City have been created for families during Hanukah. Along the way they can stop at activity stations, see light installations and performance stages. In addition, it is possible to take a menorah tour to homes in the Jewish Quarter; Hanukah candle lighting at the Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakai Synagogue (17:00-20:00 on the hour) and enjoy cantorial performances in Zabekiah's Cave (19:30). 

Lighting up the Night (Maorim et HaLiyla) – 23-30.12.2019, Jerusalem Center, 17:00-22:00

Multiple events are being held in Jerusalem's city center to celebrate Hanukah including a large menorah in Cats' Square (Khatulot Square);"Street of Wishes" on Ben Yehuda Street; performances and activities in Herbert Samuel Plaza; street performances; street parties and video art displays on three large city buildings.