A festival for all of us

In celebration of diversity in Haifa's Wadi Nisnas district, the Festival of Festivals begins tomorrow for the 15th year running.

haifa street desterded (photo credit: AP)
haifa street desterded
(photo credit: AP)
The Wadi Nisnas district of Haifa features an eclectic community of Christians, Muslims and Jews. In celebration of this diversity, the Festival of Festivals begins tomorrow for the 15th year running. The festival encompasses Christmas, Hanukkah and Eid Al-Adha, with major events taking place every Saturday this December. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected. "In light of the recent troubling events, there is even a greater need to share Haifa's way of life - a different approach which highlights our desire and ability to live in friendship among neighbors while upholding mutual respect," says Haifa mayor Yona Yahav, referring to recent violence in Acre. A variety of multi-cultural activities are planned. On the main street there will be two provisional stages for concerts, dance performances and workshops reflecting different traditions. Groups such as Seeds of Peace and the Universal Peace Federation in Israel will run children's programs, and local churches will host performances of liturgical music by Mozart, Bach and Brahms. A large art exhibition will be overseen by Abed Abdi and Orna Ben Shitrit, Arab and Jewish curators respectively. An assortment of talented artists, many of whom frequently deal with the issue of conflict, have contributed works on the theme, "Window, Dream." "There are thousands of windows in Wadi Nisnas, but almost half of them are boarded shut for various reasons. Although windows create frames, and so limit perception, they also form gateways between personal and private spaces. We selected this concept because the Festival of Festivals is intended to open the windows of understanding between different peoples," Ben Shitrit explains. The exposition includes paintings, sculptures, photographs, videos and mixed media. Almost 20 installations will be displayed in the streets with another 25 to be exhibited in the Beit Hagefen, Jewish and Arab Center, Art Gallery. The children's library next door will exhibit art by Israeli children and an antique market will be set-up in the theater. Local restaurants and food vendors will be dispersed around the neighborhood. The Festival of Festivals promises to have something for everyone. For more information visit haifahag.co.il or call (04) 852-5252.