Chanukah is less than two weeks away, and it’s time to think about how you will spend your holiday. If you’re lucky enough to celebrate Chanukah in Israel this year, you are guaranteed a week full of good greasy fun. Hey, the whole miracle centers around oil so save the dieting for January! Israel with Love wants to share some of our favorite Chanukah activities with you. So, in preparation for the holiday, grab a cup of coffee, a sufganiyah (the fried, powdered donuts that are found in EVERY bakery across the country right now) and discover how Israelis celebrate the holiday of miracles!
1. Watch runners participate in the annual torch relay. Members of the Maccabi World Union youth movement run the torch from the Maccabees base in Modiin to the Kotel in time for the lighting of the first candle. https://www.maccabi.org/education/torch-relay
2. Naomi Bitterman offers fun, mouth-watering baking workshops where you’ll have a chance to make Chanukah cookies, cupcakes and, of course, sufganiyot. Space is limited to call Naomi today at +972-54-314-2110. You can see Naomi’s creations on her Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/naomi.bitterman.73
3. Since Chanukah’s miracle involves oil, why not visit the Museum of Edible Oil Products in Haifa. The museum traces 2,000 years of oil production in Israel. Or, if the weather is nice and you’re near Jerusalem, participate in the Ein Yahel Oil Festival and make olive oil using ancient methods!
4. Celebrate public candle-lighting ceremonies
Jerusalem – Kotel (4;30 PM Su-Th, 3:30 Fr, 5:30
Tel Aviv – Kikar Rabin(6:00 PM S-Th, 3:45 Fr, 7:30 Sat night
Tel Aviv Kikar HaTarbut (HaBima) (5:00 PM S-Th, 3:45 Fr, 8:30 Sat night
5. The Zfat Kabbalah Center and Shvil HaLev (Pagth of the Heart) offer Chanukah Candle Tours each night (Except Shabbat) filled with stories of miracles and opportunities to see the different chanukiya (menorah)-lighting traditions throughout the Tzfat community. For more information, visit http://www.safed-home.com/chanukahinsafed.html
6. While we’re talking about Tzfat, Livnot U’lehibanot offers a great Hanukah vacation for people in their 20s with minimal Jewish background.
The week includes hiking in the upper Galilee and a unique Shabbat experience. hhttps://www.livnot.org/israel-programs/hanukah-2019/
7. Create your own Chanukah miracle by volunteering your services or learning about volunteers at various social service projects throughout the country. The Seeing Eye Dog Center for the Blind in Beit Oved (https://israelguidedog.org.il/en/) Leket (food rescue organization (https://www.leket.org/en/hands-on-projects/) and Yad LaKashish which offers services for Jerusalem’s aging population https://www.lifeline.org.il/ are just a few suggestions of places that you can visit that will warm your soul.
8. Many of Israel’s national parks will be hosting Chanukah-themed activities. And even if not, what a great time of year to explore the beauty of the country. https://www.parks.org.il/en/
9. Ashkelon National Park is an often overlooked park,but it has such a great location. Walk along the ancient ruins (which includes the world’s oldest arch) and make your way down to the beach. If the weather is nice, you can enjoy a winter picnic as there are plenty of tables and then warm up with a drink at one of the pubs in the Ashkelon Marina
10. Last, but definitely not least, the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra will be performing Handel’s Judas Maccabeus at the Crowne Auditorium on Wednesday evening, December 25th. http://www.jso.co.il/en/concert/handel-judas-maccabeus/. While this composition is performed throughout the world, wouldn’t it be great to see it in the land that inspired the music?
Read next week’s Israel with Love’s blog piece where we’ll help you find the best sufganiyot throughout the country!