Festive family fun

You'll need more than 8 days to take advantage of all that's on offer in Jerusalem for families wanting to celebrate Hanukka.

Bambino magician 311 (photo credit: Bible Lands Museum)
Bambino magician 311
(photo credit: Bible Lands Museum)
There is a feeling of anticipation in the air with the streets of Jerusalem already lined with Hanukka lights and the shops filled with every variation of mouth-watering doughnuts. Enriching and enlightening holiday-themed events will be on offer for all ages, and families with young children are spoiled for choice.
When the festival begins next week, the city will be transformed with radiant lights at every corner. Those on a budget can enjoy the festival as much as anyone by simply attending one of the candle lighting ceremonies throughout the city. Favorites include lighting by the Western Wall, at Mount Herzl as well as the daily lighting at Malha Mall, which is followed by entertainment and doughnut distribution for children.
The holiday of Hanukka is a magical time to explore the city, and take in the flickering menorahs lighting up the dark, cold, winter nights. Families may enjoy wandering through the winding alleys of the Nachla’ot neighborhood adjoining Mahane Yehuda market or the ancient small streets of the Old City. On Sunday December 25, there will be candle lighting at the Aish Hatorah building with a panoramic view of Temple Mount. The evening will include a performance by the Kol Haneshama Choir, musical theater and storytelling.
Most of the museums in Jerusalem are offering creative workshops and themed activities for children.The Israel Museum offers free admission from December 20 to December 27 with some workshops at an additional cost. One workshop in Hebrew challenges accepted boundaries in the spirit of the holiday, and features animator and clay master, Rony Oren; comics artist, Yuval Caspi; cartoonist, Zeev Engelmayer, and graffiti artist Adi Sened. Children aged three to nine can try their hands at making their own hanukkia.
The Bible Lands Museum offers free entrance to the museum on December 21-22 and 25-28 between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Visitors can enjoy a free English guided tour of the permanent and special exhibitions every day at 10:30 a.m. The museum also offers a special magic show, Bambino and theatrical guided tours with costumed actors taking you on a tour through the museum.
Hebrew-speakers may enjoy the Hanukka experience at the Tower of David Museum. Children aged five to ten get to step back in time to the Hasmonean period on an interactive guided tour of the citadel. In addition, children can enjoy a children's story hour or an arts and craft workshop. Beit Avi Chai in town offers arts and crafts, challenging games, riddles, and theatrical encounters suitable for ages five and up. There are also events for kids at the Museum of Islamic Art, the Bloomfield Science Museum and The Agnon House.
There is something special about attending theater with Hanukka as a backdrop. Choose from a number of puppet shows and plays at the Train Theater, the ballet, Cinderella, or the world's most popular musical, Les Miserables. Round off the experience with a delicious doughnut for a sweet and oily experience to remember.
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