Hanukkah entertainment and family-friendly activities across Israel

The rundown of Hanukkah events, all over the country, has seemingly infinite family-friendly activities and entertainment possibilities.

 LANTERNS WORKSHOP at the Tikotin Museum. (photo credit: Gani Rubinstein)
LANTERNS WORKSHOP at the Tikotin Museum.
(photo credit: Gani Rubinstein)

The timeworn jocular Jewish adage about religious holidays goes something along the lines of they tried to kill us, they didn’t, let’s eat. That, primarily, refers to Purim and Hanukkah and with the latter upon us, it is clear that we have moved quite some way beyond just filling our faces.

The rundown of Hanukkah events, all over the country, is simply bewildering and parents of school-age kids and younger have seemingly infinite activity and entertainment possibilities on offer.

The Doing Kulululu on Hanukkah program at Beit Meirov in Holon

Holon, the de facto kiddies’ national capital, is as good a place as any to kick off the roll call of thrills, spills and, undoubtedly, fundamentally unhealthy but delightfully delectable doughnuts. The Doing Kulululu on Hanukkah program at Beit Meirov feeds off the eponymous exhibition that offers all kinds of perspectives on the traditional henna prenuptial ceremony. During the course of the holiday, parents and offspring will be able to enjoy guided tours of the exhibition, join in a doll-making workshop and learn about Yemenite Jewish traditions at an experiential activity. Entry to all activities is free.

For more information: 03-651-6851 and https://www.holon.muni.il.

Hanukkah fun in Haifa

Haifa also has plenty going on in the Hanukkah fun stakes, starting with the Haifa Theater, which has its Sufgatron program of theater, dance and music shows lined up for December 17-25. This will be the ninth edition of the annual festival with in-house productions, as well as creations by the Tel Aviv-based Orna Porat Theater, the Hashaa Theater companies, and a rendition by the Kibbutz Theater of The Lion, His Name and the Giraffe, based on a children’s book by Dov Elboim.

 DOING KULULULU (credit: Courtesy of Beit Meirov, Holon) DOING KULULULU (credit: Courtesy of Beit Meirov, Holon)

For tickets and more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3WgfUYr.

There’s plenty more going on in our northern port town over the vacation, with Haifa museums pulling out all the stops to coax the youngsters away from their computer screens and into their display halls. It’s not just getting a glimpse of a bunch of artwork. The Haifa Museum of Art (https://bit.ly/3Vsi5XC), for example, has an exciting evening family activity called A Detective Tour in the Dark. Participants will be equipped with torches and embark on a thrilling sleuthing escapade in search of some new angles on art.

Meanwhile, the Tikotin Museum of Japanese Art has set up a series of 2-hour workshops for parents and offspring to create their own paper lanterns in a salute to Hanukkah and Christmas. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3G8et8K.

The National Maritime Museum will shine a topical light on the past with Illuminating the Past guided tour, on December 20 and 25, looking at archeological finds from ancient Greece and the time of the Hasmoneans. Children and their parents will get some inside information on the way the archeologists go about their business and learn about ancient oil lamps. That will be followed by a workshop where junior and senior patrons will be able to make their ceramic oil lamps and coins, complete with ancient Greek and Jewish symbols. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3ht4wbJ.

Other National Maritime Museum holiday slots include the We Came to Banish the Darkness family festivities that feature a lecture about the importance of the sea in ancient Jewish scripture, a hanukkiah competition and plenty of doughnuts. Prior registration is required for some activities. For more information, visit: https://bit.ly/3Xrk5kP

Jerusalem Hanukkah fun

Over in the capital, the Koomkoom Theater company is putting on its annual Not Only Puppets Festival December 22-26. Over the five days, the company will host a dozen shows, at its base on Mohliver Street and at Hansen House, for all ages. There are several wordless productions and Thomas Herfort will bring his Wonderful World of Kibuki over from Berlin which, we are told is for the 3-120 age group. The program includes a couple of shows for adults, and Herfort will run an experiential comics workshop. For more information, contact: Koomkoom – 050-770-5389, and visit: https://www.koomkoom.org/; Hansen House, contact: 02-579-3702 and visit: https://hansen.co.il/event.

Naturally Beit Avi Chai, in downtown Jerusalem, couldn’t let the Festival of Lights go by without offering a poignant seasonal something. The family music-based Ha’iroo Hadlikoo (Light Up) shows takes place on December 22 (2:30 p.m.) with a cast including historian and media personality Yuval Malchi as MC, singer-songwriter Moshe Korsia, actress Roni Hadar and a bunch of young movers and shakers who simply want to make the world a better place. For tickets and more information, visit: https://www.bac.org.il/events/?eventID=17755.

OPERA IS ALWAYS an eye-catcher and ear-grabber and the Israeli Opera’s family-friendly production of The Barber of Seville should do the trick. The ever-popular work by Rossini will be performed, in Hebrew, on December 21 (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) and December 22 (10:30 a.m.). Kids can choose to sit on a carpet or on chairs and the adults can avail themselves of the same options. For more information, visit: https://www.israel-opera.co.il.

Tel Aviv Hanukkah celebrations

Up the road, in Ramat Aviv, the Eretz Israel Museum is laying on a rich and varied entertainment package December 21-25. The program takes in shadow theater, music, guided tours of some of the exhibitions and creative workshops. For more information, contact: (03) 641-5244 and visit: https://www.eretzmuseum.org.il

If you want to get out and about the ninth edition of the annual Heritage Week offers an evocative marriage of history and music. Dozens of heritage sites, national parks and minor league museums around the country will open their doors to the public over the holiday. This year’s theme is poetry and song, with some tours including performances of old Israeli songs at spots, such as Naomi Shemer House at Kvutzat Kinneret, the Kfar Yehoshua Valley Train site and Beit Ariela in Tel Aviv. For more information, visit: https://moreshetonline.org.il.

Parents of youngsters with a literary bent may want to head over to bookstores in Dizengoff Center, in Tel Aviv, for the grand launch of the latest addition to the Caramel children’s book series by Meira Barnea-Goldberg. The festivities take place on December 19, starting with Hanukkah candle lighting, at 6:30 p.m., followed by the official book release. The fun also includes jumbo-sized board games and an exhibition of works relating to the popular feline character.

There’s more in the way of junior-oriented theatrical entertainment in Herzliya at the Dida Children’s Show Festival. All the indoor productions will be staged at the Hechal Ba’ir Herzliya center, with free street performances taking place at various locations around town. 

For more information, visit: https://www.dida.org.il