There are certain times in life when the advertising industry seems to aim at us
point blank. For brides, the months leading up to the wedding are filled with a
multitude of reasons to spend money. Soon-to be parents find themselves swimming
in images and descriptions of strollers, diaper stands, special trash bins and
baby clothing. And for parents in Israel, Hanukka is a time when advertisements
seem to be for their eyes only.
With children out of school and chilly
weather outside, parents are forced to come up with creative ways to occupy
their little ones. There are obvious choices such as the Festigaland the
Festival, which many children will demand to attend regardless of their parents’
wishes. However, the Hanukka season also offers a handful of rare, magical
events tailored to the needs of children.
One such happening will take place at the Israeli Children’s Museum in Holon,
located in the Holon museum compound. While the space operates regularly
throughout the year, the museum directors have decided to extend their grown-up
exhibitions to children this season. In the coming week, “Dialogue in the Dark”
and “Invitation to Silence” will open their doors to parents and
These two exhibitions have brought ground-breaking attention to
the museum. “Dialogue in the Dark” allows seeing participants to
experience the limitations of blindness, while “Invitation to Silence” explores
the universe of deafness.
“I can say that the success of these two exhibitions has been incredible,” says
museum director Rachel Meoded. “We thought that these realities weren’t that
interesting to regular people and certainly not for a leisure activity or
entertainment. It’s been amazing to see how much people really come and enjoy,”
she says. “That’s the purpose of our museum – to offer an unusual
The initiative to open these exhibitions to children began
last year, says Meoded. “Last year in ‘Invitation to Silence,’ we had kids come
to experience the limitations of deafness. They learned a song in sign language,
along with several other activities. It was very successful. This year we
decided to expand to ‘Dialogue in the Dark.’”
Though the children will not be
privy to the entire experience of either exhibition, the special kids’ tours
will surely give them plenty of food for thought.
“Children aged four to
eight will have a guide who is an actor. It’s a lot of fun for the kids. The
guides talk to the kids about how to be a child who plays soccer but is also
blind or how to play a musical instrument when you can’t see,” she
From the experiences they have already amassed about this subject
matter, the museum staff has gathered that children are very receptive
participants. A mother herself, Meoded has first-hand knowledge of the
challenges facing youth today. Beyond the stress of their studies and their
budding social lives, children are also faced with a world designed by adults.
Oftentimes, as Meoded sees it, this can be a large hurdle to
“Kids are already dealing with the limitation of being short in
this world and dealing with being a kid, which is very difficult sometimes.
Here, we give them a chance to experience something different. I think that it
develops patience and gives children a different perspective,” she
Meoded and her colleagues have gone out of their way to ensure that
parents are kept as active as their little ones.
“Our activities are for
both parties,” she says. “Enjoyment time together is really important for us at
the museum. For both sides, there is a lot of place for
self-expression. Unlike watching a show passively, there is a lot of
opportunity to ask questions and to contribute. As parents, our reality is so
intense, it’s hard for us to make ourselves available. These exhibitions really
free us up to meet each other – not just to go through a path of activity but
really to be together in an experience,” she says.
“Dialogue in the Dark” and “Invitation to Silence,” in addition to the museum’s
other exhibitions, will be open to children from December 9-16. For more
information, visit www.childrensmuseum.org.il.