Putting the fun in Shavuot

Activities for the whole family

A SHAVUOT parade with first fruits grown at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel (photo credit: AVI YAIR ANGEL)
A SHAVUOT parade with first fruits grown at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel
(photo credit: AVI YAIR ANGEL)
Shavuot is here again, which means it’s time to get out into nature and enjoy the wonderful weather. Also known in modern times as the holiday of water, Shavuot marks the wheat harvest in the Land of Israel. There are so many amazing activities planned for this holiday, including water hikes, harvest festivals and celebrations at national heritage sites. Here is a list of some of the most exciting events.
Kibbutz Ramat Rahel will be holding Shavuot activities for visitors, including a parade with first fruits that were grown on the kibbutz. Babies who were born in the past year will be a main focus of the parade. There will also be performances, artsand-crafts booths, pita baking on a traditional taboun clay oven, dancing in a circle to the beat of the drum, moon-bounces and even camel rides. In addition, visitors can purchase fresh produce grown on the kibbutz.
Date: Monday, May 21, from 10 a.m.
Price: Children NIS 40; adults NIS 30. Camel rides require additional charge.
This Shavuot, guests are invited to tour the grottoes of Rosh Hanikra where there are breathtaking views of water crashing upon the rocks. On Sunday, a colorful festival will take place with lots of workshops and activities for kids, including stations for arts and crafts, henna tattoos, makeup and photography. The site will offer its regular cable-car ride that brings guests down to the grottoes. It will also be screening an audiovisual presentation.
Date: Sunday, May 20, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Price: Some activities are included in the entry fee, others cost NIS 10 or NIS 20.
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) is offering a number of exciting hikes for families and more adventurous hikers during the extended Shavuot holiday weekend. Tours throughout the country will be led by SPNI guides who will regale participants with interesting stories and anecdotes about the area. One tour that is especially geared toward families with small children will take place in the Carmel region. This is a wonderful opportunity to get out and enjoy nature with your little ones. The tour will commence in the ancient quarry near Nahal Alon and will conclude at the lake parking area. This will be one of the last chances of the season to hike along green pastures spotted with colorful flowers. The tour will be led by tour guide Yaniv Alon from the Hof Carmel Field School. Requires use of a private car.
Date: Sunday, May 20, 9 a.m.-12 noon
Registration: (03) 638-8688
Price: NIS 46-56
The long holiday weekend is a wonderful opportunity for a hike in nature. Now that it’s getting warmer, it’s especially fun to go on water hikes. One great idea is to go kayaking at Kfar Blum, which offers two different options: The quicker option is about four kilometers. long and lasts about 75 minutes. It begins at Beit Hillel and leads you past lots of natural greenery. The longer one takes about 2½ hours to complete. And if you’re traveling with small children, you’ll be happy to know that a special ‘Kayakid’ boat ride will take place for children from the ages of two through five.
Details: 1-700-506-611
Price: NIS 99 for regular family kayak rides, NIS 65 for Kayakid ride.
The Ben-Shemen Forest will be covered in white for the annual Modi’in Region Shavuot festival. Wineries, farms and dairies in the region are opening their doors to visitors during the long weekend. For example, there will be a Milk & Honey tasting tour that will include boutique producers, as well as entrepreneurs working out of their homes. Moshav Bnei Atarot will be holding an open house event with artists. There will be a family bicycle tour that will stop in different locations for tastings, including Moshav Nehalim, Tirat Yehuda, Nofech and Moshav Bnei Atarot. At Aladdin Farm, guests will separate wheat from chaff, grind the grain, and then prepare pitot. The festival will continue until Monday, May 21.
Details: www.thm.org.il
Extreme B’Avir is inviting the public to let down their hair and take a trip on a flying tractor. The flights fly over fields while the produce is being harvested. Participants will take off from the landing pad in Shomrat and fly over the kibbutzim in the area. You can even smell the various crops (onions, corn and beans) as you fly over the fields and watch the streams snake across the land. The trip includes a stop in a field where you’ll be treated to coffee and cheesecake. This excursion might not be cheap, but it is a once-in-alifetime experience.
Flights take place every day from daybreak until 9 a.m.
Minimum age: 10.
Details: 077-996-4647
Price: NIS 750 per person.
The public is invited to the eighth annual Taste of Nature Festival at Yagur Nursery. This is one of the largest spice festivals in Israel and continues until May 26.
The festival, which will include free cooking workshops, will be inaugurated by master chef Nof Atamna-Ismaeel, who will engage young participants on Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Gastronome Michal Ansky will hold two workshops on Sunday, May 20. Participation in workshops is free and will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Club members will receive a 40% discount on all herb and vegetable purchases during the festival. Location: Hutzot Yagur Compound at entrance to Kibbutz Yagur. Details: (04) 984-8108
Shavuot is an excellent time to visit the Bir a-Sagum Spring, which was recently renovated and is now a charming destination for hikers. Located on the Golan Trail, the site has a fascinating historical background. The Beit Yehuda Association, which was founded in Safed in 1884 to help Jews settle in the Golan Heights area, purchased more than 200 hectares of land that belonged to the Bir a-Sagum village. In 1888, members of the association moved into huts on the site and began tilling the land, which was mostly made up of hills and rocky ground. The only water source was a small spring that flowed at the foot of the village. Nowadays, this area is part of the nature reserve through which the Golan Trail leads. There are wonderful benches there that were crafted from basalt stone for hikers to rest on, as well as convenient stairs built into the stone that make access easier.
The Milk and Honey Festival in the Jezreel Valley will take place this Shavuot for the 18th consecutive year and will offer a range of activities for the whole family. The highlight of the festival is the Shavuot ceremony held at the Emek Museum in Kibbutz Yifat. Some other fun activities include the bread-making workshop at the Ein Dor Museum. You can also learn how a plow hooked to a tractor plows a field, how the soil is broken up and how seeds are planted. In addition, the Emek Shuk in the Train will take place in Kfar Yehoshua, in which visitors can buy a variety of fresh produce.
Dates: Until May 20
Details: (04) 652-0734
Translated by Hannah Hochner.