Passover: Thrills, spills, family fun around Israel

Here are some good solutions for parents looking to keep their offspring engaged and safe while school is out.

 THE ISRAELI OPERA’S production of the ‘Barber of Seville.’ (photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)
THE ISRAELI OPERA’S production of the ‘Barber of Seville.’
(photo credit: YOSSI ZWECKER)

Sitting back and getting into some good wholesome silver screen entertainment can be a delightful way to while away an hour and a half or so in the comfort of well-cushioned cinema seats. It is also a nailed-on solution for parents looking to keep their offspring engaged and safe, while school is out.

Families in Holon and the environs have plenty to pick and choose from over the Passover vacation at the second edition of the now-annual Ta-Dam International Children’s Film Festival. It takes place at the Holon Cinematheque and various other venues around the city under the aegis of the Mediatheque Center and the aforementioned film and cultural hub.

The theme of the four-day sophomore run out (April 7-10) is Children from Around the World. The festival offers a crafted, border-hopping itinerary designed to take kids, their parents and grandparents here, there and practically everywhere. The films come from Norway, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the Himalayas, Holland, the United States, Belgium and France. There will be animated works, perennial classics and a bunch of preview screenings of new films.

Off-screen there are workshops for the youngsters and their parents, as well as a slew of children-oriented activities at the Mediatheque.

For more information, contact: 03-502-1552, 1-800-202-930, and visit:

What else is there to do over Passover?

MEANWHILE, THE Tel Aviv Cinematheque has its own varied program of movies, workshops and other activities laid on through to April 13. It, too, has some brand new films to show its young patrons, in addition to age group-tailored, hands-on slots, including a miniatures workshop, a stop motion workshop and an ecologically-themed session for two to five-year-olds.

 ‘WHAT’S IN the Middle’ at the Children’s Theater Festival in Haifa. (credit: GERARD ALLON) ‘WHAT’S IN the Middle’ at the Children’s Theater Festival in Haifa. (credit: GERARD ALLON)

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IF AL FRESCO fare is more your style – and it is a fine time of year to be outdoors – and you happen to be in or around Jerusalem, the Tower of David Museum could be right up your alley. That applies doubly if you like your music more on the street-level side, literally.

The Jerusalem Street Orchestra has top billing in the museum’s eclectic program of English-language family tours with a historical slant, riddles and challenges, a spectacular sound and light show and an unparalleled view of the Old City and beyond.

The Seasons of Joy: In the Footsteps of the Pilgrims guided tour on April 7 (10 a.m.) will enlighten the public about different kinds of pilgrims who made their way to the Holy City from Biblical times until today. Patrons will also get some corporeal proof of the yesteryear events by perusing archeological finds from the Second Temple Period.

Music is the order of the day for the Band’s visit, on April 9-10. With sound stations dotted around the museum grounds, the 4:30 p.m. concert by the Jerusalem Street Orchestra provides entertaining vignettes of what the likes of Handel, Ravel, Grieg and Bartok got up to in their day.

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HEADING NORTH, the 32nd edition of the Children’s Theater Festival in Haifa is laying on its usual rich, multifaceted rollout, from April 9-11. Over the three days, kids and parents will be able to attend dozens of Hebrew-language productions at venues across the city.

My Friend Winnie the Pooh features A.A. Milne’s ever-popular characters while Ephraim Sidon’s The Song Thief should be a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. What’s in the Middle by the Goshen Theater is a musical comedy and The Bridge, an international coproduction, between the Kibbutz Theater and the German Comedy Theater of Cologne, is about harmonious living.

There is also plenty of outdoor entertainment in the lineup, with international street theater shows, such as The Queen of the Bathroom – Water Stories from France, Blue Birds from The Netherlands and Bobbies by the Irrwisch Theater company from Austria.

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THE TMUNA THEATER in Tel Aviv is also geared up for the Passover holiday crowd. On April 2 and 8 (both at 11 a.m.), five to nine years olds and accompanying adults can enjoy performances of some of the antics of Pippi Longstocking (Bilbi in Hebrew). The enduringly popular Swedish character gets in the act when a couple of brothers struggle to deal with life’s adult-imposed structures.

For more information, contact: 03-561-1211 and visit:

SPRING, IF YOU hadn’t noticed, is truly springing which means there’s plenty to see, smell and do over at the Botanical Gardens, in Jerusalem. The Passover Between The Flowers festival, from April 7-12, should keep vacationing school kids happy and busy. There will be a navigation course suitable for various age groups in different parts of the sprawling grounds. Size will be front and center at the Dice–Wooded Games spot, from April 9-10, with all kinds of games that are normally played at home on boards available in jumbo-sized editions.

Over the same two days, there will be a flower printing workshop taking place throughout the day and there will be guided tours of the currently blossoming items in the gardens.

For more information, contact: 02-679-4012 and visit:

WAY DOWN in the southern reaches of the Negev, the Nitzana region has an abundance of environmentally-oriented activities laid on, designed to enlighten us about different ways of growing food in the desert. For starters, there is an experiential guided tour of the Shirat Hamidbar Farm, during which participants of all ages can learn about growing spices and herbs that can heal us. The organizers will also teach the public how to make juices from all kinds of produce cultivated on the farm.

There is more in the way of educational experiential fare, with the accent on much-needed social cohesion at the Nitzana Farm. The guided tour takes in the hot houses, the vegetable patch and the story of the remote youth village built near one of the most important settlements of the Nabatean civilization. Shepherding is also on the agenda and visitors will also learn about some of the wildlife that inhabit the desert. After dark, there will be some guided stargazing, too, as well as some hikes and jeep trips.

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MUSIC IS always a powerful draw for the younger crowd. The Israeli Opera House in Tel Aviv has a couple of Hebrew-language productions for five to 10-year-olds. The Barber of Seville gets two airings on April 8, at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with Alice in Wonderland set for April 10 (10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.).

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MUSIC OF A more contemporary commercial ilk is on offer at the Holon Theater, where the Yamei Zemer Festival returns for the 27th year, from April 9-12. The roster includes a tribute to Shoshan Damari, marking the 100th anniversary of the late Yemenite-born diva’s birth and a salute to late rock guitarist and vocalist Yitzhak Klepter.

There are some kudos lined up for the living, too, with an illustrious veteran triad on the festival program. Nonagenarians songwriter, arranger and conductor Arie Levanon, singer-songwriter and actor and scriptwriter Shimon Yisraeli and 87-year-old lyricist, playwright, author and translator Dan Almagor get a respectful and fun nod.

The festival cast also features top names in today’s pop and rock sector, including Shlomi Shaban, Ninet, Keren Hadar and Esther Rada, along with some of the more seasoned folk, such as Tuvia Zafir, Sasi Keshet, Hanan Yovel and Hanni Livneh.

For more information, contact: 03-502-3001 and visit: