Sukkot activities and amusements

The best activities for the upcoming holiday.

Nahar Hayarden rafting (photo credit: NAHAR HAYARDEN RAFTING)
Nahar Hayarden rafting
Sukkot is an amazing time to go on hikes and trips around the country. School’s out for the whole week and the weather is cooling as fall peeks its head around the corner. So get up and out of your sukkah and go explore!
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel Hatzeva Field School in the Central Arava will be leading hikes during which families can catch a glimpse of the mysteries of desert life. There will be morning and evening tours on September 29 and 30. The hike along Nahal Gidron is suitable for families with small children, who will hear all about the region’s unique flora and fauna. The tour of Nahal Tzafit, a more challenging hike for families, starts in the Dimona area and leads towards the Arava. Hikers will walk along the lower basin of the stream in the canyon where they will encounter fascinating desert vegetation and geology. Hold on to pegs during ascents! The tour of Nahal Tzafit will take place on September 29 at 9 a.m., beginning at the Hatzeva Field School.
The tour of Nahal Gidron will take place on September 30 at 9 a.m. beginning at the Hatzeva Field School.
Price: NIS 30 to NIS 40, up to age 3 free
Registration: (08) 658-1546/576
The Salad Trail in Moshav Talmei Yosef invites the public to join an agricultural tour led by agronomist Uri Alon and his team. Alon, who also happens to be a tour guide, established the “touch and taste” farm a decade ago with his wife, Shuli. They wanted their farm to function as a tourist attraction where families could receive a crash course in environmental techniques in which they’d learn lots of interesting facts, such as why some fruits grow upward and how biopesticides work – and of course, visitors are welcome to pick and sample the scrumptious fruits and vegetables.
The Salad Trail also offers a trip through the passion fruit maze, where you can pick and eat fruit as you walk along. Next, guests are led into the greenhouses where a dozen types of tomatoes, miniature cucumbers and spicy peppers grow, and then on to the herb garden. Afterward, the guests can make pitot with lots of herbs and answer fun quiz questions.
Dates: Saturdays and Sundays, pre-registration required
Length: Tours are 2½ hours long.
Price: NIS 40
Details: 077-729-5702
The Afuliz multi-disciplinary art festival, which will be taking place this Sukkot in Afula, is a social initiative of the local artist community’s cultural movement. Over the weekend, Israeli artists from all over the country will be displaying their art work and performing for the public. There will be a circus and lots of theatrical performances, including a dance performance by Renana Raz called The Shape of Culture.
Dates: September 29, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; September 30, 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: 7 Hehashmal Street, Afula.
Price: Entrance is free.
The Israel Nature and Parks Authority invites visitors to partake in an exciting experience in Eshkol Park. There will be bike paths that are well signed, a free individual navigation plan for bike riding in the park, and the first disc golf training session in the Middle East. In addition, guests can visit the natural treasures that are accessible year round in the Eshkol Region, including wading pools and large grassy picnic areas.
Dates: September 29 and 30, regular hours of the park.
Location: Habesor Park (Eshkol)
Price: There is no extra charge in addition to park entrance fees.
At Nahar Hayarden Rafting, you can spend time relaxing in the shade of a sukkah or cool off in the refreshing water. The site offers a number of family-friendly rafting options using newly purchased inner-tubes for young riders. For more adventurous types, there are also ranger and jeep rides along the river, paintball, a climbing wall and zip lines over the river.
Dates: September 29 and 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Nahar Hayarden Rafting, Gadot
Price: NIS 70 (for tickets purchased online); inner- tubes NIS 40; zip lines NIS 25 (special holiday rate).
Details: (04) 900-7000,
In Moshav Shadmot Dvora in the Lower Galilee, a special wood festival will take place at a park called Derech Ha’etz. During the festival, visitors will be able to interact with wood carving artists, buy wooden art work created by Israeli artists, build their own creations in Pinocchio’s Workshop, and participate in a quiz about trees, which will take place every day during the festival at 12:30 p.m. In addition, guests can enter a giant wooden maze and have fun riding around a “karting” track.
Dates: Until October 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Location: Moshav Shadmot Dvora
Price: Children NIS 59, adults NIS 25
Details: (04) 662-0606
If you happen to be vacationing in the Golan Heights, I recommend visiting the national heritage site Ein Hakeshatot, which will be open to the public throughout the Sukkot holiday, after being closed for renovations for an extended period. You can either wander around the site on your own, or join a guided tour, which includes a short film.
There is a 1,500-year-old synagogue at the site that was recently rebuilt using innovative technology. Next to the synagogue, you’ll see a cluster of abandoned Syrian houses that were constructed on top of an ancient Jewish village. The old arches that gave the site its name are standing tall and strong at the site, and below you’ll find springs, hiking paths and shady rest areas that have been beautified nicely.
Dates: Guided tours will take place on September 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the hour.
Price: Children NIS 15, adults NIS 23
Directions: Drive toward Moshav Natur on Road 808. Pass the entrance to Natur and continue another 1.5 kilometers. Turn left onto a road that leads to the parking area.
Details: 050-200-1099
Expert tracker Assaf Ben-David will lead an early morning hike in search of tracks left by nocturnal animals that have been scurrying around the night before on the sand dunes near Nitzanim. During this unique SPNI tour, participants will discover tracks left by reptiles, gazelles, hyraxes and foxes. Ben-David explains how trackers identify markers on the ground and in the brush that teach you what the animals have been up to. At the end of the tour, guests will make a plaster mold of animal prints.
Dates: September 29 at 8 a.m.
Price: NIS 56 to NIS 66
Details: (03) 638-8688
Translated by Hannah Hochner.