The hills are… alive!

Come hear the bands and hike the hills at the first Festival of Mountain Sounds, being held in the J'lem area.

ptashka 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy )
ptashka 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy )
There can't be too many music, art and food festivals in Jerusalem and its surroundings. And, whether you want the mountains brought to you or you want to venture out and explore them - you are in luck. Both such scenarios are options at the first Festival of Mountain Sounds, being held this weekend and next. Near, far and wide are all well represented with international music performances including an Irish and Scottish folk concert and an evening of Andalusian music. The just-outside-Jerusalem hotels of Neve Ilan, Neve Shalom, Ma'ale Hahamisha, Tzuba, Shoresh, Yad Hashmona, along with the Abu Ghosh and Latrun monasteries, are hosting a spectrum of music events and more. Hanni Ben Yehuda, the organizer of this jam-packed two-weekend extravaganza is quite the visionary, "This festival seeks to establish the connection between the mountain hotels and the nature that surrounds them. This is evident with the juxtaposition of bike tours and hikes following seasonal brunches." She elaborates, "There is music for everyone - from the classical music of Vivaldi and Tchaikovsky to jazz and spirituals with Ptashka and Young. We are also featuring a traditional Hanukka sing-along and Christmas music. This year the holidays coincide with one another, date-wise, so the activities reflect the lights of both celebrations with tours of the lit menorahs and the chance to see a decorated Christmas tree at the church in Latrun." Yes, there is life outside your apartment, so come taste the food, hear the bands, hike the hills, and pick up sticks. The festival takes place this weekend, Dec. 18-20, and next, Dec. 25-27. For a complete listing of events, including the wine tasting and goat cheese making workshop, visit