Hanukka all round

Eight days may not be enough to take in all the activities the country has to offer.

land of wonders 311 (photo credit: Kfir Bolotin)
land of wonders 311
(photo credit: Kfir Bolotin)
Judging by the plethora of entertainment and hands-on activities on offer up and down the country over the Hanukka period, this year’s Festival of Lights will live up to its name. Parents looking to keep their offspring happily engaged – instead of being glued to their computer and TV screens – have all sorts of shows and programs to choose from, including quite a few that won’t overly tax their purse strings. And the grown-ups shouldn’t feel too deprived either, with plenty of artistic, musical, seasonal and get-up-and-go stuff for them as well.
Holon for kids When it comes to Hanukka activities for the younger crowd, there’s no better place to start than Holon, with its Children’s Museum and local theater. The former establishment has lined up all manner of instructional, eye-opening and fun items, with workshops and walking tours based on a wide range of topical and other themes.
The Invitation to Silence tour, for example, is led by a deaf guide who will teach children aged 4-8 to sing in sign language and to communicate and listen inaudibly.
The guide will also challenge the kids to use all their senses, except for sight, with doughnut sustenance provided at the end.
Parents of younger children will also have a rich selection of activities to choose from, including the Walk with Yanshul and Following the Butterflies trails for two-and-a-half to four-yearolds, and the Where Is Mish? handson activity for two-and-a-half to fiveyear- olds.
www.childrensmuseum.org,il or call 1-599-585-858
Other attractions in Holon include the four-day Puppets and Dreidels festival of shows and workshops at the puppet museum. The museum itself will be open free of charge from December 25-28 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
The Puppet Center, 13 David Remez Street. For more information: www.puppetcenter.co.il or (03) 651- 6848.
Historical trails The Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv has an abundance of activities and programs for children of all ages and their parents throughout the holiday period. The Task Game will take participants along a trail to Hanukka lights and ancient light utensils and artifacts. There will also be musical and creative workshops, as well as all the current museum exhibitions.
For more information: www.eretzmuseum.org.il or call (03) 641-5244
Arts and crafts If you fancy spending some time in warmer and drier climes, there’s lots of all-family artistic endeavor of the active and passive variety to be had down south at the second Creative Arava bash this Friday. The event will take place at Sapir Park, where a temporary artists’ colony will house exhibition areas and workshops for visitors of all ages.
The workshops will provide the public with an opportunity to get some inside information on creative processes in different artistic fields, including making jewelry from natural materials, working a potter’s wheel, sculpting in stone, graffiti and street art, and musical improvisation.
The compound will also feature an arts fair, café and a spot where all comers can get down and dirty with some communal environmental installation building.
The Creative Arava program starts at 10 a.m. For more information, call 1- 800-225-007
Kids’ theater in Haifa At the other end of the country, Haifa Theater has lined up a bunch of quality shows for kiddies, culled from this year’s International Children’s Theater Festival program.
The program kicks off with two performances of perennial favorite Peter Pan (Thursday at 10 a.m. and noon) in conjunction with the Orna Porat Theater company. The shows are directed by Zvia Huberman, who also adapted the script, and features a 10-member cast that includes Doron Amit, Tomer Shem-Or and Kobi Moshe.
On Monday December 26 (8:30 p.m.) children aged 7-13 and their parents will have a chance to see 2011 International Children’s Theater Festival winner The Freedom to Move, written by Gideona Raz and Sharon Borstein. The play tells the story of a delightful but hyperactive child whose excessive outpourings of energy make him a social outcast and an academic failure. Help is eventually at hand in the form of a DJ who helps the hero channel his energies into music and dance.
Next Wednesday (8:30 p.m.) an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, scripted and directed by Raanan Ferera and Moshe Ben Shushan and choreographed by Yoram Carmi, will take the audience along a magical trail of colorful figures and adventures as the heroes face up to challenges and learn a thing or two about life.
For more information: www.ht1.co.il or call (04) 860-0500.
Holiday of holidays If liturgical music tickles your fancy, while you’re in the environs of Haifa you will find a wealth of religious aural vibes on offer, including a concert of 16th-century English and Spanish Baroque music (Saturday, Gefen House at noon); a program of works by Beethoven, Wolf and Brahms courtesy of the Jerusalem Quartet (December 28. Rapaport Hall, Mercaz Hacarmel at 8:30 p.m.) and a performance of Haydn’s Adriana Bancasus cantata (December 29, Hecht House at 9 p.m.)
For tickets: www.garber-tickets.co.il and (04) 838-4777.
In the Center If you happen to be in downtown Tel Aviv on December 25, you might want to pop into the Dizengoff Center with your kids for the Hanukkeff event, which starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. The Hanukkeff program includes a whole host of engaging workshops and other instructive items, such as the spectacular Science in the Light of Hanukka show, which incorporates various kinds of lights, mirrors and pyrotechnics; a Hanukka mosaic building workshop; and the Light Tables activity, which shows children how to produce seasonal drawings and figures.
Hanukkeff also features a program of holiday-related shows, including The Lost Oil Flask, Hanukkiada and There Will Be a Great Miracle Here.
Down South Back in the great southern outdoors, Timna Park has a rich program of walking tours, shows, workshops and other activities lined up between December 25 and 27.
There will be a multimedia presentation of the story of ancient copper mining at Timna, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily; archeological activities for all the family under the guidance of an Antiquities Authority archeologist; and workshops and activities for all ages next to the Timna lake.
All daytime activities will take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., with sunset tours through the park’s spectacular natural landscapes starting at 5:15 p.m. daily.
For more information: www.timnapark.co.il
And there are plenty more southern Hanukka programs on offer at and around Kibbutz Elifaz (www.elifaz.co.il, (08) 635-6230 and 052-368-8384); Neot Smadar (visit@neot-semadar.com (08) 635- 8177 ); and Hazeva Field School (hazeva@spni.org.il and (08) 658- 1546 or (08) 658-1576) and on the Yamei Hamidbar weekend, on December 23-25 (www.desertdays.co.il and 052-617-0028), with a full program of workshops, music, storytelling, art and tours.
Northern exposure If you want to get a bird’s eye view of Hanukka activities and what Mother Nature in the Galilee is up to these days, you might want to clamber into a hot air balloon and float across the Jezreel Valley, courtesy of the Rize Up company. For more information: www.rize.co.il and 077-450-0282.
For more information about Hanukkah activities in the Jezreel Valley and surrounding area: www.emektour.org.il or (04) 652-001/095.
Whatever your budget or logistical hinterland, there’s plenty to get out of the house for over Hanukka..