Tour Israel: Rosh Hashana Special

Many popular sites around the country are busily preparing for the New Year and will be extremely crowded, so I'd like to suggest taking a different route this holiday season.

Petting the goat, Iza Paziza, at Moshav Tal Shahar (photo credit: MAYA MAYMONI)
Petting the goat, Iza Paziza, at Moshav Tal Shahar
(photo credit: MAYA MAYMONI)
Rosh Hashana is just around the corner, and so this is a great opportunity to take some time before the hustle and bustle of the holiday to enjoy a few New Year activities with friends and family. Many popular sites around the country are busily preparing for the New Year and will be extremely crowded, so I'd like to suggest taking a different route this holiday season. Following are a number of New Year events that take place out in nature.
Yiftah’el Winery
If you’ve never visited Yiftah’el vineyard and winery in August during the grape harvest, I highly recommend taking your family there at some point during this Rosh Hashana holiday.
Managed by Hadas and Zvika Ofir, the winery is located near the entrance of Alon Hagalil.
Experienced tour guides will show visitors how to prepare grape juice from grapes grown in the vineyard, and each guest will receive a wicker basket, pruning shears and instructions on how to cut off bunches of grapes to fill their baskets.
After harvesting the grapes, visitors will be brought to the eucalyptus grove, where they will learn the proper way to pull grapes off their stems, and then squeeze the grapes into juice using wooden extractors. Next, visitors will pour the juice into bottles and then pass them on to be corked.
Afterward, visitors will move on to the arts and crafts corner, where they'll be able to fashion their own personalized custom label for their wine bottle.
At the end, you can visit the air-conditioned visitors center and watch a short video clip that describes the wine production process.
For more information:
Honey festival
Just in time for Rosh Hashana, the Honey Council is holding a honey festival until October 29 that is being celebrated in honeybee farms around the country. Each farm is holding activities through which visitors will learn about the world of bees and honey production.
Visitors will get to speak with beekeepers in person, watch the bees as they work frenziedly in their beehives, gather honey, watch a short film on a bee’s life, participate in creative workshops for children, taste many different types of honey and dress up in costumes.
In addition, during the festival, visitors will be able to participate in a photo contest in which each family can document their day in film and then submit their photo and possibly win a prize.
The following is a list of honeybee farms participating in the festival: Pirhei Galil Beehive in Moshav Manot, Kaveret Habustan in Peki’in, Michmanim Honey Farm, Dvorat Hatavor in Moshav Shadmot Devora, Ofir Honeybee Farm in Alon Hagalil, Ye’arat Hadvash in Alonei Abba, Porat Apiary in Ein Yahav, Galil Apiary at Kibbutz Shamir, Lin Farm in Kfar Bilu and the Honeybee Farm in Kfar Chabad.
For more information:
Kibbutz Yad Mordechai
Kibbutz Yad Mordechai is holding a variety of fun honey-related activities to celebrate the New Year. On Saturday and Rosh Hashana, there will be cake-baking workshops in which children will learn how to make honey cake, which they can take home after it comes out of the oven.
Each amateur baker will receive an apron with a honey cake recipe printed on it that they can decorate and take home.
In addition, in the Honey and Bee House, visitors will be offered a glimpse into the fascinating world of bees, and hear an explanation from a professional beekeeper about queen bees, the enterprising worker bees, the pollination process and honey production.
During the visit, children will also be able to get close to a real hive and then make candles out of beeswax.
If you’re still up for more activities, families are invited to take a tractor- pulled wagon ride on kibbutz roads and be hosted in a typical kibbutz house, where you'll learn a little about kibbutz life.
Of course, no one will go home without being able to taste the freshly made honey.
Price (includes all activities): NIS 55 for children, NIS 50 for adults.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Details: (08) 672-0559
Beit Guvrin-Maresha
The Beit Guvrin-Maresha National Park is ushering in the New Year with special activities such as colorful kite-flying. Visitors are welcome to bring their own kites from home, or buy kites on location, and join the fun in the skies.
In addition, there will be guided tours of the national park, during which visitors will be taken to observation points that overlook landscapes in the Beit Guvrin area.
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: NIS 28 adults, NIS 14 children
Tal Shahar – Land of Milk and Honey
Lots of activities will take place this holiday season at Moshav Tal Shahar. Iza Paziza and 34 other happy goats will be there to welcome children and their parents to a fascinating adventure called The Land of Milk and Honey.
This is a great opportunity for city-dwellers to experience a little bit of country life and experience firsthand what it’s like to live on a farm. You'll be able to pet and feed the goats and even try to milk them if you're adventurous.
Guides will show you all the steps from milking a goat to making cheese and yogurt (there’ll be plenty of time for tastings, too – don't worry!).
And when you reach the Iza Paziza visitors center, you can sit down to a nice meal of goat cheese, bread, wine, coffee and lots of other treats.
Dates: Sunday to Friday, October 16 to 20, 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m.
Price: NIS 36 per person
Preregistration is recommended: (08) 610-2876
Galili Olive Press
The Galili Olive Press is officially opening its harvest season. Located in Beit Lehem Haglilit, the Galili Olive Press invites the public to enjoy the aroma of freshly pressed olives and taste the oil that was produced right in front of you.
Visitors will learn about all the ecological advances that are incorporated in the oil production process. In addition to guided tours, visitors can participate in the actual harvest and prepare a small jar of olives. Visits to the olive press are free, but the tour of the olive grove, which will take place on Saturday and Rosh Hashana, requires a fee (from age 3).
Check out the Galili Olive Oil’s Facebook page for more details.
Dates: Until December 3 Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fridays and eves of holidays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturdays and holidays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: NIS 35 per person
Preregistration is recommended: 052- 615-4411
Walk around the Kinneret
The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel invites the public to take part in a mass walk around the Kinneret.
The tour will begin near the church with the pink domes at Capernaum (Kfar Nahum) and will continue along the pier. The tour will continue eastward to Amnun Bay, where participants can take a break and go for a swim in the refreshing Kinneret. And while you’re relaxing on the beach, you can solve riddles with your kids. The tour will be led by guide Naomi Goshen from the Sde Galil Field School.
Date: Monday, October 3, 10 a.m.
Estimated finish time: 2:30 p.m.
Price: NIS 56 to NIS 67.
Details: (03) 638-8688
Kibbutz Ein Shemer
The Old Courtyard Museum at Kibbutz Ein Shemer invites the public to a festival for the whole family celebrating the history of the kibbutz. During the festival there will be workshops in which guests will prepare Rosh Hashana cards for loved ones (and can even mail them right on the spot).
In addition, visitors can see the beehives and hear from beekeepers how honey is made, and of course also taste freshly produced honey.
Visitors can tour the museum which recounts the experiences of kibbutz founders, and then watch a short film. And the best part of all – you can dress up in outfits pioneers wore in the early years, and see what it was like for them to work in the field, bake rolls in the old brick oven, and even take a ride to visit the cowshed in a tractor- pulled wagon.
Date: Tuesday, October 4, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Price: NIS 35-45 Details: (04) 637-4327
Translated by Hannah Hochner.