Celebrate Shavuot as the holiday of water

Climate and special activities combine to make this year's festivities a unique vacation opportunity.

Bridge over tranquil water at Einot Fahm Nature Reserve (photo credit: YISRAEL ESHED)
Bridge over tranquil water at Einot Fahm Nature Reserve
(photo credit: YISRAEL ESHED)
Next week’s Shavuot holiday is a great opportunity to participate in some of the wonderful holiday activities being organized around the country. Shavuot – or the holiday of water, as many kids call it – falls late this year, which means that it will probably be even warmer than most years. As a result, I will list a bunch of fun hikes that involve spending time in cool springs and streams. In addition, many Shavuot activities that are perfect for family outings will be taking place, so below I have brought you a few highlights.
Biblical Zoo in Jerusalem
The Biblical Zoo is celebrating the numerous animals that were born at the zoo this past year. At each exhibit in the zoo where a newborn animal can be found, there will a sign with pictures describing their birth and development. Some of the newborns include the callithrix monkeys, lion tamarins and the Nubian gazelle.
Visitors are also welcome to watch as zookeepers feed the animals and train the elephants according to a unique method, as well as get to know a few types of friendly animals.
Hours: Sundays to Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fridays and holiday eves 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Child (3 to 18) NIS 42, adult NIS 55.
Details: (02) 675-0111.
Location: Manahat Park, 1 Aharon Sholov Street, Jerusalem
Golan Heights Wineries
Golan Heights Wineries invites the public to come to its visitors’ center in Katzrin and join a guided tour that includes wine tasting and a picnic basket full of goodies prepared locally, including baked goods, cheeses, apples, mineral water, biodegradable plates and cutlery, and chilled wine. You can take your picnic basket and settle down in a variety of comfortable spots around the winery, including the garden, which is full of blooming flowers.
Price (including tour): NIS 200.
Pre-registration required: (04) 696-8435.
Kfar Galim
Carmel Beach farmers are celebrating Shavuot at Kfar Galim with their annual parade, tours of the cow shed, tractor rides, agricultural market where visitors can buy a variety of locally grown produce, cheeses and holiday presents, and participate in fun children’s activities. The market will open up in the early morning hours and then at 10:30 a.m. there will be an exciting holiday toast, followed by the parade.
Date: Friday, May 26, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Details: Keren Hadad, 055-660-2159; Assaf Isaac, 052-375-0032.
Ein Afek
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority invites the public to take part in family-oriented tours and activities in the Ein Afek Nature Reserve, which is now easily accessible to disabled individuals and to people with special needs. New paths have been paved within the reserve and guests can walk easily from the flour mill that is from the time of the Crusaders to the springs and pools. You can also stop to rest in one of the shady picnic areas that overlooks the nature reserve.
Date: Thursday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
All activities included in entrance fee.
Neot Kedumim At Neot Kedumim, you and your family can expe-rience the harvest just like it must have been during the biblical period. There will be guided tours that focus on the multiple names for the Shavuot holiday.
In order to better understand one of the names – Holiday of the Giving of the Torah – visitors can write on parchment using a quill and ink. During the Seven Species tour, participants will be invited to taste the first fruits and experience what it was like to harvest the wheat and carry the sheaves. After grinding the wheat into flour, guests will bake pitot on a taboun and make cheese.
Date: Thursday, June 1, 9 a.m. to noon. Tour will begin promptly at 9:15 a.m.
Price: NIS 40 (under 3 free) Pre-registration required: (08) 977-0770.
Einot Fahm
It would be a shame not to get wet at least once on the Water Festival. Einot Fahm in the Golan is a wonderful place to hike with your family, where you might be lucky and catch a glimpse of a fox or wild pig. The water of Einot Fahm, which flows into the Gamla River, comes from rainwater that filters down into the earth and fills the pools that are covered with reeds and other pond plants. The water from Einot Fahm used to serve communities in southern Israel, but nowadays it is used by Moshav Yonatan for agricultural irrigation.
Directions: At Mashta Intersection on Road 87, about 3.5 km east of Hamapalim Junction, turn south toward the oil road. After about four km., turn left when you see the sign for the Einot Fahm Nature Reserve. Pass over the cattle grating and then park your car about 700 meters farther on. Walk down to the stream and pool by foot.
Entrance is free of charge.
Beit Lehem Haglilit
Ktofoti in Beit Lehem Haglilit is holding a wonderful Shavuot program that will connect you with nature. Visitors will get to see what it’s like to use a plow that’s connected to a tractor and then plant seeds in the plowed ground. Agricultural demonstrations will take place at noon on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the holiday vacation. In addition to learning how to plow, visitors will be greeted by Rami, a born-and-bred farmer, who will explain how all the different farming tools work.
Afterward, guests will be invited to join an actual harvest of wild berries, herbs and seasonal vegetables.
And if that’s not enough, following the harvest, all the children can participate in an arts and crafts workshop in which they will prepare a seedling so that it can be ready to be planted, feed the goats, pump water with an old irrigation pump used to water the fields, and make pitot on a taboun.
Dates: Tuesday, May 30, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Wednesday, May 31, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Thursday, June 1, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Price: NIS 40 (free under 2). Large basket NIS 25, basket of wild berries NIS 10.
Details: 054-550-7480.
Festival in White
The annual Shavuot Modi’in Area “Festival in White” will take place for the sixth consecutive year from May 25 through June 3. The festival will take place in a number of farms and agricultural establishments near the Ben-Shemen Forest. There will be wheat harvesting, grain grinding, a display of agricultural tools, and guided cheese and wine tasting tours.
Date: May 25 to June 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Price: Children NIS 25, adults: NIS 15.
Details: www.thm.org.il.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.