Shavuot begins this Saturday night, and in Israel many people associate this holiday – which commemorates the day God gave the Torah to the people of Israel – with water. Since Shavuot falls in the summer, this is a great time to venture out into nature and hike alongside streams or visit swimming holes and refreshing springs.
THE ARTS IN EILAT
Alternatively, there’s a plethora of activities taking place around the country over the long holiday weekend that relate to Shavuot as the Jewish year’s harvest festival. Here are some of this year’s best choices.
MILK AND HONEY AT DVORAT HATAVOR
The Dvorat Hatavor Visitors Center will be conducting special Shavuot Milk and Honey tours over the holiday weekend. Guests will get to visit the bee observatory, where they will catch a glimpse of how silkworms live; the petting zoo, where they can feed the dwarf goats; and the strawberry fields. Kids can join a workshop where they’ll paint 3-D butterflies and create candles made from beeswax. There will also be a tractor ride to see the cows in the moshav’s cowshed.
Dates: June 7 to 10. Tours, which require preregistration, will take place at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m.
Price: NIS 42-52.
If you have plans to be in Eilat this Shavuot, then you’re in luck, because a number of exciting free attractions are currently being planned for the city. There will be a few acoustic performances by Danni Bassan and Assaf Amdursky, as well as the art biennale. Curator and artist Doron Polak will conduct a newspaper workshop during which he will create a huge ship; makeup artist Duby Priger will cover a model’s body with bright colors in the dark; and painter Ben Rotenberg will paint a huge mural in front of a live audience. There will also be a 40-artist exhibition titled “Let’s put an end to plastic in the oceans,” which will be on display June 8 to 12 at the Eilat Artists Gallery in the city’s Central Park.
The art biennale will take place June 8 and 9. Entrance is free.
Details: www.redseaeilat.comDAIRY DELIGHTS AT TZEELA
Tzeela Dairy in the northern Negev will be offering guided tours during the Shavuot weekend, during which guests will learn all about the farm, watch how cheese is made, visit the sheep pen, and taste cheeses made on site. Visitors can purchase a variety of cheeses prepared in regional farms and even order picnic baskets to take with them on their hikes. In addition, the café on site has a delicious breakfast menu.
Date: June 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: NIS 140 per couple; guided tours at noon, NIS 25; kids’ herb workshop: NIS 25
www.tzeela.co.il BIKE TIME AT LA MEDAVESH
La Medavesh Bicycle Center in Kibbutz Be’eri rents bicycles and offers four different routes of varying levels that are appropriate for families with kids. During the bike ride, you’ll pass through green pastures and fields full of vegetables. In addition, guests can book a guided tour of Be’eri’s agricultural fields, historical sites and popular beautiful nature spots.
Bicycles and maps can be rented in the La Medavesh shop, where advice is on offer on which trail is the most appropriate.
Dates: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays, Saturdays and holiday eves, 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Price: NIS 75
Details: 077-729-5716HORSES AND CHERRIES
A great way to celebrate Shavuot this year is by going cherry picking at the Horse and Cherry Farm, which is operating as part of the Golan Heights Cherry Festival. Four different types of cherries are grown on the farm, alongside a number of other types of berries. There will also be picnic tables and bathrooms on site, making this a great place to spend the entire day. Entrance fee covers all the fun holiday attractions, as well as all you can eat of berries while you’re on the farm. If you’d like to take fruit home with you, packages can be purchased on site as well.
In addition, there will be a live performance by Yehuda Caesar on Sunday, June 9, on the farm.
Location: Horse and Cherry Farm, Moshav Odem
Dates: Sundays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. (last entrance an hour before closing time).
Grand opening: June 8
Details: 1-700-707-180BEN-GURION’S KUTCH-MUTCH
Have you ever been curious as to what the “Kutch-Mutch” (sweet cheese-filled pastry) that Paula used to prepare for her husband, David Ben-Gurion, tastes like? Ben-Gurion himself was apparently not a fan, but he ate it anyway. Kids visiting Ben-Gurion’s house will get to prepare the dish on Shavuot, and will go home with a copy of the recipe printed on a magnet.
And because Israel’s first prime minister was a big fan of the Jewish Bible, there will be a scavenger hunt based on biblical and national clues.
Location: Ben-Gurion’s House, Kibbutz Sde Boker
Date: June 9, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Price: NIS 15 to NIS 20
Details: (08) 656-0469, www.ben-gurion.co.il CRAFTING AT THE OPEN MUSEUM
The Open Museum in Tefen is inviting the public (from age 8) to come take part in workshops where they can make their own lucky charms out of natural fibers and weave baskets from reeds. Participants don’t need any prior knowledge, but you do need to have lots of patience to create these crafts. Alternate activities for younger children will be available.
Workshop dates: Amulets, June 8, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; basket weaving, June 9, 11:30 to 13:30
Museum hours: Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to4 p.m.; Friday and erev hag, 11 a.m.- to 4 p.m.
Details: (04) 910-9609, www.omuseums.org.ilEYES OPEN AT EIN HEMED
The public is invited to spend the evening in Ein Hemed National Park’s overnight camping site – not to sleep, but to stay awake all night and learn about the natural world. There will be short lectures, a guided night tour and a film about nature.
Location: Ein Hemed National Park
Date: June 8 at 21:00.
Price: Regular entry fee
Details: *3639MODI’IN FESTIVAL IN WHITE
This Shavuot, the Modi’in region will hold its annual Festival in White in the Ben-Shemen Forest. There will be wine and cheese tastings, agricultural activities and obstacle courses. The Markowitz family invites the public to see how goat cheese is made with fruits belonging to the Seven Species, while artists show their crafts. At Doron Min Hateva at Moshav Nehalim, guests can taste locally made cheeses and yogurts, and at Natuf Winery they can taste a variety of wines, cheese, olives and olive oil. At Ish Shel Lehem bakery, visitors will learn about the lengthy process of baking fresh bread.
For those of you who love being outside in nature, I recommend joining a guided tour at Migdal Hahummus in which you’ll learn how chickpeas are grown and then take a ride on the tractor through the fields. At Sergio’s Organic Farm in Kfar Truman, guests can take a guided tour, pick fruits and vegetables, and prepare fresh pitot.
Details: www.thm.org.ilTranslated by Hannah Hochner.
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