Tour Israel: Winter festivities in the Western Galilee

Every once in a while, Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same week, and this year happens to be one of those years.

Winter festivities  in the Western Galilee (photo credit: Courtesy)
Winter festivities in the Western Galilee
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Every once in a while, Hanukkah and Christmas fall on the same week, and this year happens to be one of those years. Just before this holiday season arrives, during the weekend of December 19-21, a very special winter festival will be taking place in the Western Galilee full of family-friendly activities and workshops. Here is a synopsis of the festival’s activities.
Kfar Yasif
In Kfar Yasif, a village where Christians, Muslims and Druze live side by side (and where Jews lived too, in the distant past), visitors will find the streets lit up with shiny and colorful Christmas decorations. Tour guide and educator Yotar Dahan will be leading guided tours of the village for the duration of the festival, during which participants will visit the local church, learn about engraving at the art gallery, taste traditional holiday treats in the home of the local priest, and hear what daily life is like in the village. The tour is suitable for the whole family and involves easy walking throughout the streets of the village.
Date: Thursday, December 19, 4-7 p.m.
Price: Adults: NIS 80; Children under 12: NIS 50.
Details:  050-923-5674
Noalush Bakery and Buza Ice Creamery
One of the commonalities between the Jewish and Christian winter holidays is lots of tasty and sweet treats. This definitely is not the place to be if you’re on a diet, but if you’re looking to indulge yourself a little, I recommend visiting Noalush Bakery and Buza Ice Creamery. At Noalush Bakery, located in Ma’alot Tarshiha, you’ll find fresh, warm croissants filled with Buza’s special ice cream. And likewise, Buza Ice Creamery is offering colorful macaroon cookies filled with the creamiest ice cream you’ve ever tasted.
Dates: Friday, December 20, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at Noalush Bakery (Kfar Vradim-Tarshiha Road).
Shabbat, December 21, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Buza Ice Creamery (Tarshiha-Kibbutz Sasa).
Authentic Druze Meal at Janet’s
Nothing stimulates your appetite like holiday festivities. If you’re looking to experience an authentic Druze Western Galilean meal, I recommend eating at Janet’s, located in Kfar Jatt, where you can experience the best Druze cuisine available in the region. There’s no better way to become acquainted with authentic cuisine than eating food cooked in someone’s home, and that’s exactly what Janet provides. So, after you’ve spent a few hours walking through the winding roads of one of the most ancient Druze villages, you are invited to come relax at Janet’s table and enjoy a variety of dishes, such as vine leaves, rice with chicken, siniya, mujadera, bulgar and tomatoes, fried kubbeh, and sambusac. Janet also regales guests with cultural anecdotes about the Druze community.
Date: Friday, December 20, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (or until last guest).
Price: Group of up to six diners, NIS 100 per person; Group of 7-15 diners, NIS 85 per person. Children under 3 are free.
Pre-registration required: 054-650-3090
Ayurvedic Treatments in Clil
Unless you haven’t stepped outside lately, you’ve probably noticed that we’re heavily into the winter flu season. Everyone is always searching for ways to avoid getting sick, and one great way to renew your energies is with a classical Ayurvedic treatment in the village of Clil, in which you’ll learn how to shield yourself from troublesome illnesses. During the Ayurvedic workshop, participants will learn all about ancient Indian medicine, including how sicknesses develop and how to protect ourselves during the winter months. You will learn how to make your own herbal formulas to treat respiratory problems, and each participant will go home with a kit to use for themselves the next time they catch a cold.
Date: Friday, December 20, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Price: NIS 60, including refreshments and hot chai tea.
Details: 052-396-6394
Alma Israeli Woman’s Voice and Tour
with Omri Avidar and Dor Pintal
Most Israelis have visited Old Acre, its quaint shuk and famous fish restaurants, but not many people have ventured into the alleyways of the Old City where the locals live. In an effort to familiarize outsiders with this unique city, a festive concert will take place on Saturday, December 21, which will be followed by a walk through the narrow streets of the city. The tour will lead you to lesser known spots where you will discover unusual sights. This tour is an absolute must for photographers. The special Christmas concert will feature Alma Israeli Woman’s Voice, and will be accompanied by the Idit Dvir Ensemble.
After the concert, guests can join tour guides Omri Avidar and Dor Pintal, who will lead you through the streets of Old Acre. You will be welcomed into people’s homes, where you can taste traditional treats prepared by residents and meet with local artists and artisans. For example, during the tour guests will meet mason Amar Selim, who works to preserve old buildings, and painter Walid Kashash, a contemporary artist who is working hard to integrate art into the Old City.
Date: Saturday, December 21, 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Price: Concert: NIS 90 in advance; NIS 100 the day of the concert.
Concert + tour: NIS 130 in advance; NIS 140 the day of the concert.
Starting point: JNF-USA Information Center on Salah A-Din Street, Old Acre.
Pre-registration required: 04-601-5533
Translated by Hannah Hochner.