Out and about on Hanukka

Fun, festivals and holiday fare abound around the country including music, theater and excursions.

Out and about on Hanukka (photo credit: Courtesy)
Out and about on Hanukka
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The whole country will light up over Hanukka with arts and culture events galore of the passive and hands-on variety tailored to all tastes, interests, pockets, modes of transport and ages.
The Eretz Israel Museum in Ramat Aviv is offering plenty of fun and wholesome entertainment and activities for children of all ages on December 9 –13, with items such as Looking for the Shamash, which starts out with a story and evolves into an absorbing escapade.
Looking for the Shamash is for kids aged five and above and their parents, while four to nine-year olds should enjoy the Joseph’s Wonderful Coat musical based on a story by Simms Taback. Elsewhere at the museum there is a range of creative workshop activities, while the new planetarium will keep children six and over suitably engrossed. (For details: (03) 641- 5244 and www.eretzmuseum.org.il.)
In the North, the Mara Theater company in Kiryat Shmona is holding a puppet show festival on December 10 and 11 based on productions by the Galilee Multicultural Theater and the Tulik Theater company. The show lineup includes a performance of Tulik’s The Fourth Charm, and Off the- shelf Stories and Celebration by the Galilee Multicultural Theater. (For details: (04) 695-9659 and www.t-mara.co.il.)
In the center of the country, Bialik House on Bialik Street in Tel Aviv offers a couple of walking tours and shows on December 9 –16. First off, you can get a handle on the inner workings of Bialik House, which will take on a special festival aura for the occasion. And you can learn some lesser-known facts about Tel Aviv and its cultural history on a tour of Beit Ha’ir. Junior patrons will enjoy making hanukkiot at a workshop at the Bialik Compound, as well as the entertainment on offer with the Animal Store and Legend at the Lab shows. (For details: (03) 525-3403 and www.beithair.org.)
Back up North, Haifa Theater, Mofa Theater and Ethos Haifa Arts Culture and Sports Company are offering a three-day program of shows (December 11-13) for families as part of the Sufgatron Festival. The lineup includes theater productions and dance shows at the Carmel Center, Auditorium Compound, Rapaport Hall and Hecht House. The roster features such shows as Tom Thumb, Jack and the Beanstalk, Apartment for Rent and Keeper of the Chicks. (For details: (04) 860- 0500, www.ht1.co.il and www.mofa.org.il.)
And there is more quality entertainment to be had when the Israeli Opera puts on a new production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute in Nazareth Illit on December 8 and 9 at the Berkowitz Community Center. Admission is free. The event is part of the Opera House’s community outreach program, which brings operatic entertainment to communities around the country. The Nazareth Illit production will also involve many local residents of all ages, who will join forces with seasoned Israeli Opera soloists. (For details: (04) 646- 7468; (03) 692-777 and www.israel-opera.co.il.)
In the region around Modi’in, the In the Footsteps of the Maccabees Festival has plenty of free guided tours, in cooperation with the JNF, to places such as the Maccabees’ Graves in the Ben- Shemen Forest. The tour also includes an exciting performance of Asphalt Theater’s The Last of the Rebels, which incorporates ancient texts with acrobatics, music, juggling and humor. The festival events will also be seasoned with actors dressed in costumes of yore.(Advance registration is required at: www.thm.org.il)
Patrons can also get into some of the smaller and more bashful specimens of local wildlife at the Bnei Or Uvnei Hoshech (Creatures of Light and Creatures of Darkness) activity at Tel Hadid. On December 12, herpetologist Dr. Boaz Shoham will enlighten his audiences about the lives of a range of smaller reptiles that spend most of their time in the dark, hiding under rocks and stones. (Advance registration is required at: www.thm.org.il.). You can also get to see more of the local landscapes on December 11-13 at the outdoor buggy and ATV ride activities. (For registration: 057-777-3038.) There are many more activities all round the region on the festival program. (For details: (03) 972-8999 and www.thm.org.il.)
Over in the capital, The Train Theater has plenty of fun stuff for children and their parents, with its kids program from December 9 –13. Shows on offer include Where Is Mrs. Gabai? I Dreamt of Animals at Night, The Dream Trackers and the awardwinning Wiseguys. There will also be hands-on slots where kids can make hanukkiot and figures for a shadow theater production of Peter and the Wolf. Shows will take place at the Train Theater, as well as nearby Yemin Moshe and Mishkenot Sha’ananim. (For details: (02) 561- 8514 ext. 8 and www.traintheater.co.il)
Meanwhile, just down the road, Beit Shmuel has lined up a program of walks and Hanukka activities through numerous parts of Jerusalem, including the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, Nahlaot, the Bukharan District, Zichron Moshe and Geula. (For details: (02) 620- 3463/1.)
You can also head south to the fresh air and open spaces of the Arava. Between December 11 – 13, the Timna National Park is offering families the chance to play archeologist at a site in the park. Participants can get their hands dirty with some excavating, checking and sifting through ancient remains, and gain some knowledge about the science from professional archeologists. Younger visitors can also create their own hanukkiot and mosaics, and there will be guided walks through the park. (For details: (08) 631-6756 and www.timna-park.co.il.)
Elsewhere in the region, the outdoor Desert Film Festival will take place December 6 – 8 at Tzukim, with a special focus on westerns, including a couple of new Israeli productions in the genre. (For details: 052-366-5935 and www.aravaff.co.il.)
Back up North, there will be an abundance of gastronomic delights, workshops and tours at the eighth annual Ta’am Kinneret Festival on December 6-16. (For details: (04) 675-2727 and www.kinneret.info)