(photo credit: Courtesy)
This year's Duet in Jaffa festival should have happened in the summer, but the Lebanon War got in the way. On reflection, December isn't a bad time to hold a festival that also marks a Jewish, a Christian and a Muslim holiday. While Ramadan ended a month or two ago, Hanukka and Christmas are almost upon us.
Duet in Jaffa will be held at the Arab-Jewish Center in the Ajami quarter of Jaffa on the weekends of December 9, 16 and 23. There will be all kinds of musical entertainment, plus some gastronomic delights and hands-on arts and crafts workshops.
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"There is a mixed population in Jaffa," explains festival director Eli Greenfeld, "so Duet in Jaffa is appropriate for them." Greenfeld adds that he expects visitors from far and wide. "This is the eighth year we have held Duet in Jaffa and, over the years, we have seen people coming from the whole of the Tel Aviv area - not just the mixed ethnic parts of Yaffo - and other parts of the country, too. It's wonderful that the Tel Aviv-Yaffo municipality supports this event so strongly."
There will be something to see, hear and do for all ages. The festival aims to whet the visitors' appetites - literally - from the get-go. The first slot, at noon on December 9, is a food workshop that blends dishes from the East and West. That is followed by kids' entertainment, an acrobatics show that combines juggling, and other athletic circus tricks with modern clowning.
Musical items include Eastern hafla (party) music courtesy of Haifa resident Nizar Francis and rapper Tamer Naffer and Keleh 6.
"There is a growing market for Arabic and ethnic music here, especially classical Arabic music," Greenfeld notes, "but we are also going to offer the public music for younger people. It is also an opportunity for Arab musicians to perform in front of audiences to which they don't normally have access."
The second weekend (December 16) features arts & crafts stalls and a workshop that includes traditional Palestinian carpet making, embroidery and weaving, pottery making and natural beauty care products.
"Over the years this festival has been particularly popular with families," Greenfeld says. "We try to offer something for everyone."