If you are looking for ways to keep the children busy during the intermediate days of Pessah, The Jerusalem Post has several suggestions for you. The events are free or have a symbolic entrance fee, unless otherwise mentioned. The Potato Festival in Hevel Habasor
2008 was declared the International Year of the Potato by the UN to raise awareness of the importance of the potato, and of agriculture in general, in addressing issues of global concern, including hunger, poverty and threats to the environment.
Israel joins the celebrations with the Third Potato Festival to mark 60 years of Israeli potatoes.
The festival will be held on April 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Mitzpe Gvulot, situated next to Kibbutz Gvulot in the western Negev. The site also offers a trip back in time to the first Jewish settlement in the Negev in the modern era.
Visitors, mainly the children, will participate in activities that revolve around potatoes, such as humorous competitions, sculpting in mashed potatoes, preparing personal stamps from potatoes, cooking shows, tractor trips to the potato fields and digging potatoes.
Visitors will learn that there are 3,000 different kinds of potatoes around the world, and 50 of them are being grown in Hevel Habasor. Each has different qualities that make them just right for boiling, frying or industrial and other purposes. The visitors will have the chance to learn about the differences and to see an exhibition of agricultural tools. In addition, a sack of Hevel Habasor potatoes will be given as a gift to the visitors.
The festival will include theatrical and musical shows, story telling, an arts and farmers' market, and a fashion show of clothes designed from potato sacks by the students at the regional high school.
For more information, see www.habsor.co.il.
A Jordan Valley Pessah
>The Jordan Valley invites the public to tour the area and to enjoy a host of activities for the family. The main event in the region is the Ein Gev Music Festival, April 22-24, which celebrates its 64th anniversary this year.
As part of the festival's agenda to nurture Hebrew song, the festival will feature singing groups and choirs on several stages.
On April 22, every member of the country's 300 singing groups are invited to sing with Sarale Sharon and the members of the Jordan Valley Regional Council's singing group, who have sung together for 30 years.
On April 23, Dori Ben-Ze'ev will host the singing of Dubi Zeltzer songs with the participation of Yehoram Gaon, Geula Gil, Hedva Amrani, Moshe Baker, Amotz Brontman, Nira Sapir, a vocal quartet and two singing groups.
Yoav Ginai will host the evening of April 24, when the songs of Rahel Shapira will be sung.
NIS 50 for the first evening and NIS 90 for the second or third evenings. Tickets can be purchased at Keshet Mofaim, (04) 622-0066.
In addition, guided sailing trips will depart on April 22-24 at 2, 3 and 4 p.m. from Ein Gev's promenade, where an arts markets will be held, April 23-24, noon to 8 p.m. Guided tours of Kibbutz Ein Gev on each of these days start at 11 a.m. and on the hour thereafter till dusk.
Grandpa Yossi's Carpentry Shop will hold activities for the children daily, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details, call (054) 565-8821.
For more details and events in the kibbutzim of the Jordan Valley, go to www.ekinneret.co.il or call (04) 675-2727.
Israel Nature and Parks Authority
The authority invites the public to celebrate Pessah at the national parks. It charges symbolic entrance fees and provides activities at no extra charge.
The National Park in Caesarea will hold performances by horses in Herod's Royal Hippodrome, April 21-24, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. The hippodrome was used for large sporting events and gladiator games in 22 BCE., and the performances during Pessah will simulate that period. Guided tours will be held as well. For more details, call (04) 626-7080
The National Park in Beit She'arim in the Lower Galilee invites the public for evening tours on April 24, at 6 and 8 p.m., into the underground burial town. Visitors will go through ancient yards, corridors and stairs that lead to burial halls. Participants will carry flashlights and will encounter characters from the Sanhedrin period who will tell the story of the place and time. At the end of the tour, participants will enjoy the klezmer show of Hanan Bar-Sela. For more information, call (04) 983-1643.
The Hula Valley is an important bottleneck site for birds migrating along the Syrian-African Rift Valley between Africa, Europe and Asia.
The lake contains a wide variety of vegetation, rare fish and animals. Buffalo are herded regularly in the Hula Nature Reserve to maintain the open grazing land. Guided tours will be held on April 21-24, at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, call (04) 693-7069.
The National Park of Tel Megiddo contains a water system that was developed by King Ahab of Israel and the ancient city's spring that allowed inhabitant to obtain water without leaving its walls. The system includes a 25-meter-deep pit, and a tunnel 70 meters long and three meters high. On April 20-22, visitors will be able to join guided tours of the biblical city and its walls, gates, temples, stables and water system. For more information, call (04) 659-0316
For general information, go to www.parks.org.il or dial *3639.
Mount Meron March
The traditional Pessah march will be held on April 22, sponsored by the Merom Galilee Regional Council and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and starting at 10 a.m. at the Pisga parking lot.
Happenings and activities will entertain the children and their parents during the march, which will split into three levels of difficulty: the short course of four kilometers, the medium course of six and the long course of eight. All the routes include plenty of landscape, views and natural springs against a background of awakening vegetation and green forests.
Happenings for the family will be held at Hirbat Hamama, the final station, where workshops of ancient tools and mosaics, basket weaving and ecological creation will entertain the children. For more information, go to www.merom-hagalil.co.il.
The Bereshit visitor center in Kibbutz Merom Golan offers a peek at the local fruit world in the packing house, aided by infrared video cameras and sophisticated robots.
Visitors will be able to watch a video clip on the fruits' journey from the picking through the sorting process to the market. The tour lasts 45 minutes and at the end of it, visitors can have lunch in the restaurant. Everyday between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Entrance is NIS 15-NIS 20. For more details and to coordinate your visit, call (04) 696-1988, ext. 5.
Mei Eden's visitor center in Katzrin, the Golan Heights, offers a peek into the world of mineral water and an explanation of the journey the water takes before ending up in the water cooler or bottle. The visit includes a guided tour of the factory - the bottling, labeling and packing production lines. Children can join several workshops that revolve around water games, assignments and quizzes. Each visitor gets a free personal water bottle. The center will be open Sunday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Fridays until 1 p.m.
Entrance costs NIS 15-NIS 20. To coordinate in advance, call (04) 696-2825/696-1050, ext. 236.
For the third year, Bank Hapoalim invites Israelis to visit 48 museums and cultural sites across the country at no charge. The project's aims to promote the intellectual enrichment of children and parents in the heritage and the culture of Israel. Bank Hapoalim has invested NIS 7 million in this project.
The museums and the sites will be open to the public April 21-25. Among them are the Haifa Zoo, Jerusalem Botanic Garden, Tel Aviv Museum, Israel Museum and Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, Armored Corps Museum in Latrun, Joe Alon Museum of Beduin Culture in the Negev and the Crocodile Farm in Beit Hananya, near Binyamina.
For the full list and details, call: (03) 606-6969.
The Ein Yael Active Museum in Jerusalem invites children and their parents to a Mud Festival in which they will build in and learn about mud. The festival will be held April 13-17 and April 21-25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for an entrance fee of NIS 35-NIS 40 for an adult. For more details, call (02) 645-1866 or go to www.einyael.co.il.