In between candle lighting and munching our way through endless calorie-rich doughnuts, there is a myriad indoor and outdoor activities and entertainment packages on offer all over the country for all age groups, tastes and interests.
Culinary items are generally high on the list of anyone setting out on a vacation outing, regardless of the destination, and the ninth annual Taste of the Kinneret Festival offers a wide range of food-related activities near the Kinneret and the Jordan Valley between November 27 and December 7. The festivities kick off with a cocktail and meal event at the 1910 restaurant at Kibbutz Deganya Alef. There is a host of food-based trips, pastry creativity workshops and a meal with a knights-of-old ambience at the Merindo Restaurant at Ein Gev. And a sing-along and dance slot at the Deganya Alef olive press are but a few of the events laid on in the festival. ( For more information: (04) 675-2727 and www.kinneret.info )
If you want get to where the Hanukka action is, the Maccabees Festival
near Modi’in will run from November 29 to December 2 near the locations where the original Hanukka events took place. Most of the events are free and include an experiential Hanukka storytelling show, candle lighting, walking tours, street performances and activities for children.(For more information: 1-800-345-454; www.thm.org.il and www.gobinyamin.org.il)
Jerusalem is always a popular destination over the Hanukka period, and between December 1 and 4 tours of Hasmonean-related sites will take place in the Jewish Quarter
of the Old City, starting at 8 every evening.
(For more information: (02) 626-5906 and www.rova-yehudi.org.il
While science may not be able to explain the miracle of the one-day oil supply lasting a full eight days, Hanukka offers an opportunity to get a handle on some technological and scientific conundrums at the Science Gardens
of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. The program, which runs from November 27 to December 7, offers all manner of activities for children, youth and adults based on time themes. Visitors of all ages can learn how to stop time in its tracks, how to look into the past and how to build a water clock. There will also be explanations of the inner workings of animal and plant life, as well as some fascinating stories about prehistoric creatures.(For more information: (08) 934-4528 and http://bit.ly/WdGD4i)
There are more technological and scientific wonders on offer at the Madatech Israel National Museum of Science
in Haifa. The “Through the Lens” exhibition encompasses all kinds of telescopes, microscopes and clocks dating back three and a half centuries. The full show incorporates 470 items, the majority of which originate from Germany, France, Britain and Sweden.
(For more information: (04) 861-4444 and www.madatech.org.il
If you want to work off some of those doughnut calories and fancy some outdoor exertions, you might want to head down south for a mountain bike ride along the Pratzim Wadi
and Mount Sodom next Friday. The 30 km. ride starts at 7:30 a.m. and costs NIS 50.
(For more information and registration: http://events.shvoong.co.il/neviot /
And there is plenty more on offer in the Negev and Arava. From December 2 to 4, Timna Park will host the Revealing the Hidden Treasures program of experiential activities for the whole family, in conjunction with the Antiquities Authority. In the wake of important King Solomon era discoveries by a team of archeologists from Tel Aviv University, the park is offering the public a chance to experience the thrill of hands-on excavation work. Visitors will watch a presentation about the ancient local copper mines, after which they follow Dr. Tali Gini and her team of archeologists for some down-and-dirty excavating. There will also be artistic workshops near the Timna Park
lake, mountain bike rentals and activities for younger children. Camping facilities are also available.
(For more information: (08) 631-6756 and www.timna-park.co.il
Just down the road, on November 29-30 and December 2-5 at the Yotvata Hai Bar
animal reserve, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the reserve and get a close-up look at some desert creatures of prey and watch snakes and bats getting their sustenance.
(For more information: (08) 637-3057
As usual, all manner of musical entertainment will be laid on at the 16th annual Desert Sounds Festival
, from November 28 to December 1 at Kibbutz Sde Boker. The program takes in a wide swath of sounds and cultures, including contemporary Jewish music from Yonatan Razel and the Metar Ensemble, high-energy sounds courtesy of Ester Rada and Tomer Yosef, works by veteran composers Zvi Avni and Avihu Medina, and classical works from Israel, the Arab world and farther afield.
(For more information: (08) 656-4115 and www.tzlilimbamidbar.co.il
Meanwhile, back in the capital, Mishkenot Sha’ananim
is offering fun activities for kids from November 27 to 29 as part of the Montefiore Days event. The junior workshops take in dreidel making, how to make a weather vane and designing a magic box.
(For more information: (02) 629- 2213 and www.mishkenot.org.il
Back up north, the Haifa Theater
will host the Sufgatron 2013 program from December 1 to 3. The three-day program, which is supported by the Haifa Municipality, includes theater, dance, music and puppet shows for different age groups, starting at age three.
(For more information: (04) 860- 0500 and www.ht1.co.il
The bustling First Station compound
in Jerusalem will host its first Hanukka program of events from November 28 to December 5. The entertainment lineup includes free dance shows as part of International Dance Week, the Oscula Project contemporary arts happening in which circus performers, dancers, stage actors and performance artists will offer their professional take on the theme of kissing. There will also be daily candle lighting at 6 p.m.
(For more information: www.firststation.co.il
And if you fancy some treasure hunting, the Port of Tel Aviv
should be just the ticket. The Race to the Mifalei Yam Treasure event, which takes place on December 1 at 11 a.m., is a challenge task-based contest in which couples, families and groups of friends team up to find their way along a course of stations that will lead them to the treasure. Participation is free, and participants must register in advance at www.namal.co.il