Categories
Festivals & holidays

5 Ways to Celebrate Sukkot in Israel

Sukkot is a weeklong Jewish holiday that celebrates the gathering of the harvest. But most importantly, it reminds us of the Exodus from Egypt. During the Exodus, GOD took care of the Israelites and provided them shelter while walking in the desert. In the Bible, it clearly says: “You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths, in order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I the LORD your God.” (Leviticus 23:42) According to some commentators, those booths were temporary dwellings with a roof made of unprocessed natural vegetation. That is why we dwell in those booths every sukkot.

If you’re planning to visit Israel on Sukkot, I’ve gathered 5 ways to celebrate Sukkot in Israel. Just keep in mind that public transportation does not operate during the first two days of the holiday.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, at no extra cost to you. These links help me keep the website alive, so thank you!

Table of Contents:

When is Sukkot celebrated?

This year (2021), Sukkot will begin at sundown on 20 September and end at nightfall on 27 September. Every year, the date is slightly different. That’s because we celebrate our holidays according to the Hebrew calendar, which is different from the widely used Gregorian calendar. Sukkot begins every year on the 15th day of the seventh Hebrew month, Tishrei. Usually, this day falls in October.

5 ways to celebrate Sukkot in Israel:

Visit a Four Species Market:

The Four Species are four plants used during Sukkot – an etrog (citron), a lulav (palm branch), a hadas (myrtle twig), and an arava (willow twig). A few days before Sukkot, people come to the Four Species Market to get the finest Four Species for the holiday. There are several markets all around Israel. In Jerusalem, you can find a large market in the Ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, near Shabbat Square (Kikar HaShabbat) or near Machane Yehuda Market. Outside Jerusalem, there’s a huge Four Species market in Bnei Brak, the largest Ultra-Orthodox city in Israel. 

The Four Species represent the different people of the Jewish nation:

  • The etrog has both smell and taste, so it represents Jews who study the Torah and have good deeds.
  • The lulav has taste but no smell, so it represents Jews who study the Torah but do not do good deeds.
  • The hadas has smell but no taste, so it represents Jews who have good deeds but do not study the Torah.
  • The arava doesn’t have taste nor smell, so it represents Jews with no good deeds and no Torah.

Religious people will tie the Four Species together and wave them in a special ceremony on each day of the holiday, not including Shabbat. They do this because it is written in the Torah. It shows that even though not all of us are the same, we are still united. If you want to see the ceremony during Sukkot, go to a nearby synagogue in the morning. If you’re in Jerusalem, you can also go to the Western Wall. 

The Four Species. Pic by Kikar HaShabbat, from Wikipedia

Spend time in a sukkah:

The sukkah is the booth in which GOD ordered the Israelites to live in for seven days. In the plural, a sukkah is called “sukkot,” hence the name of the holiday. The religious people make sure to eat all their meals in the sukkah, and some even sleep in it.

When in Israel, you’ll see the sukkot everywhere – on the street, next to restaurants, in people’s porches. People start building the sukkot right after Rosh Hashanah, so you will notice them a few days before the holiday.

Another important part of Sukkot is the Ushpizin, the guests. It is a mitzvah, a divine commandment, to host as many guests as possible in your sukkah because true joy is only shared joy, and it’s important to be joyful during the holiday. Many people host the needy and the lonely. But even if you’re not needy or lonely, you can find a sukkah that will welcome you. As I said, there are sukkot everywhere. If you see an open sukkah, you can glance inside or even stay a bit to experience the holiday spirit. Find all the open sukkahs on opensukkah.com.

In this opportunity, I also want to recommend a great movie, “Ushpizin”. It talks about an Ultra-Orthodox couple who celebrate Sukkot and accidently host two escaped convicts as their Ushpizin. I’ve watched it twice already and love it! You can rent “Ushpizin” on Amazon.

Here is a video of a sukkah building by the IDF:

Visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem:

Sukkot is one of the three Pilgrimage Festivals together with Passover and Shavuot. During these festivals, the Jewish people used to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Holy Temple doesn’t exist anymore, but you can still visit the Western Wall, the last remnant of the temple complex. Thousands of people visit the Western Wall during this time of year.

The Western Wall is open 24/7. There’s security at the entrance, and then you can come near the wall. At the central part of the Western Wall, women and men have separate areas of prayer. If you want to pray next to the opposite sex, you can do so in the smaller prayer area, south of the central one, called Ezrat Yisrael. The entrance is before the security, to the right.

To respect the holy place, please come in modest clothes, cover your shoulders and legs.

The Western Wall

Go hiking on the Israel National Trail:

As I said, Sukkot is meant to remind us of the Exodus. When the Israelites left Egypt, they walked for 40 years through the desert until they finally entered the Promised Land. Well, 40 years is a long time, so instead, you can hike for several days on the Israel National Trail. This way, you can experience a bit of what the Israelites felt when they went from one place to another. Also, you can take a tent, and camp along the way, which is kind of like staying in a temporary dwelling, isn’t it?

Late September is usually the start of the fall hiking season, but the weather might still be hot during Sukkot, so make sure to check the forecast before the hike. The Israel National Trail usually takes about two months to complete, but you don’t have to hike all of it in one go. Seven days could definitely be efficient. Learn more about the Israel National Trail in my ultimate preparation guide.      

One of the most beautiful sunrises on the Israel National Trail

Go camping for a few days:

If you don’t like hiking but still want to stay in a tent, you can camp in one of Israel’s many campgrounds. Many of them are free of charge but don’t have any facilities. If you want toilets, electricity, and other facilities, it might be worth paying a bit to stay in an organized campground. There are even some good campgrounds in the Israeli desert! Then, you can camp for a few days, cook outdoors, and try to imagine how the Israelites felt when they dwelled in temporary booths in the desert. Learn more by reading my post – Camping in Israel: The Basics.

Final thoughts:

Sukkot is one of the longest Jewish holidays. That’s why it’s a great time to hang out with family, friends, or strangers you meet during your travels. Whether you choose to learn more about the traditions of the holiday or explore the Israeli wildlife, I’m sure you’re going to have an awesome time! Happy Sukkot!

Want to learn more about holidays in Israel?

Read my post – Holidays in Israel and How to Spend Them During Travel.

Save this post for later!


If you liked this post or found it useful, would really appreciate a like, a share and a comment (:

If you need any help with planning your trip to Israel, feel free to contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com.

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And plan a great trip to Israel using my app – Travel Israel by Travelkosh for Android and iOS

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Festivals & holidays Trip Planning Tips

Top Annual Events in Israel – July to December

Israel is a very festive country, full of festivals, events and holidays all year round. In this post I want to tell you about the top annual festivals and events in Israel from July to December (I’ve also written about the top annual festivals and events in Israel from January to June). Even if you aren’t planning to take part in the events, I do recommend you check what events are going on during your dates of travel, so you will be prepared for the crowds or changes in traffic. Some events are very popular, so you might want to book accommodation a while in advance.

And do read – Holidays in Israel and How to Spend Them During Travel.

Top July Events in Israel:

Jerusalem Light Festival: In this fabulous festival the alleyways of the Old City of Jerusalem will be lit with fantastic light shows. It is a great opportunity to take a walk in the Old City after dark, when the temperatures are also much nicer. The festival is free of charge.

When? June 26 – July 4, 2019.

Where? Jerusalem Old City.

Official Website: Jerusalem Light Festival.

Jerusalem Film Festival: If you want to get familiar with some Israeli films, you might find this film festival interesting. You need to get tickets in advance. You can check about the tickets through this email: contact@jer-cin.org.il.

When? July 25 – August 4, 2019.

Where? In Cinematheque Jerusalem, 11 Hebron Road.

Official Website: Jerusalem Film Festival

Top August Events in Israel:

Safed Klezmer Festival: Come enjoy the Klezmer performances that take place in the alleyways and lanes of the Old Jewish Quarter and the Artists Quarter of Safed. There are three nights of performances, which begin approximately 9 PM and continue until after midnight. All performances are free.

Where? Safed Old Jewish Quarter and Artists Quarter.

When? August 12-14, 2019.

Official Website: Safed Klezmer Festival

Akko Zimriya – International Choir Festival: If you happen to be in Akko at the end of August and want to take part in a magical musical event, try getting tickets to this international choir festival, which takes place in the ancient buildings of the Hospitaller Fortress of Old Akko, a UNESCO Heritage Site.

Where? The Hospitaller Fortress in Old Akko.

When? August18-21, 2019.

Official Website: Akko Zimriya .

Red Sea Jazz Festival: The sunny city of Eilat welcomes the Red Sea Jazz Festival, a 3-days events including concerts from Israel and abroad as well as jam sessions into the night. The performances require tickets.

Where? Eilat Port, Dock No. 9.

When? August 25-27, 2019.

Official Website: Red Sea Jazz Festival.

The National Arts and Crafts Festival: One of the greatest cultural events in Israel takes place in Jerusalem every summer. The festival includes arts and crafts stands, activities and live performances during the night. To watch one of the live performances, you need to purchase tickets online. To enter the fair, you can purchase tickets at the festival’s ticket booths.

Where? In Khutsot Hayotser, Jerusalem. 

When? August 12-24, 2019.

Official Website: The National Arts and Crafts Festival.

Opera in the Park Tel Aviv: The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality and the Israeli Opera joined together to make this FREE event. An opera performance is shown in on of Tel Aviv’s public parks, Ganei Yehoshua Park. 

Where? Ganei Yehoshua Park.

When? Dates for this year not confirmed yet, but seems like it will be around August 9, 2019 between 8:30PM and 11:30PM.

Jerusalem Beer Festival: If you love beer, you might want to come and enjoy the many types of beer exhibited in this festival.

Where? In Jerusalem.

When? Dates for this year not available yet.

Official Website: Jerusalem Beer Festival.

Top September Events in Israel:

Mekudeshet Multidisciplinary Arts Festival: A 3-week unique festival based in Jerusalem, that focuses on the challenges and people of Jerusalem. Most events cost between 120 to 180 ILS, but seem very interesting and worth the price!

Where? In Jerusalem.

When? 4-21 September, 2019.

Official Website: Mekudeshet.

Sea of Galilee Crossing: The largest popular swimming event in Israel, which takes place in the Sea of Galilee. You can register as a single person or as a whole family and swim through the Sea of Galilee.

Where? In the Sea of Galilee.

When? Dates for this year not available yet.

Official Website: Sea of Galilee Crossing.

Top October Events in Israel:

Haifa International Film Festival: One of the top festivals in Israel for film lovers and media professionals. During this week of festival, dozens of new films from different categories are screened. It is required to get tickets in advance.

Where? In Haifa.

When? 12-21 October, 2019.

Official Website: Haifa International Film Festival.

Tamar Music Festival: A beautiful music celebration in the backdrop of the majestic Judean Desert. The festival includes special sunrise concerts at Masada and free concerts at Kibbutz Ein Gedi and Sdom Square.

Where? In Masada and the area.

When? 15-18 October, 2019.

Official Website: Tamar Music Festival.

Jerusalem March: The Jerusalem March, also called the Feast of Tabernacles, is an annual event of solidarity with Israel, which includes marching through the streets of Jerusalem together with many supporters from around the world. The march begins at 2PM from Sacher Park.

Where? In Jerusalem.

When? 17 October, 2019.

Official Website: Jerusalem March.

Cycle Tel Aviv: This cycling event, which is the biggest of its kind in Israel, includes four different cycling routes to choose from around Tel Aviv. October is usually a perfect time for cycling thanks to the great weather, so if you like to cycle, check it out. It will cost you around 70-90 ILS to register.

Where? In Tel Aviv.

When? 18 October, 2019.

Official Website: Cycle Tel Aviv.

IndNegev Music Festival: This is a huge three-day live music event, which includes over 100 live shows and camping in the Israeli desert. It’s called IndNegev because there are a lot of Indie bands, but there are also many other genres.

Where? Mitzpe Gvulot in the Negev.

When? 24-26 October, 2019.

Official Website: IndNegev Music Festival.

Tel Aviv Night Run: Come participate in one of the biggest sports events in Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps. Or if you don’t like to run, you can always come and cheer the thousands of runners.  There is a registration fee for runners.

Where? In Tel Aviv.

When? 30 October, 2019.

Official Website: Tel Aviv Night Run.

Top November Events in Israel:

Open Restaurants in Jerusalem: A wonderful festival for culinary lovers! During the Open Restaurants events, you will be able to take part in many special workshops in some of Jerusalem’s finest restaurants, as well as many other activities which will connect you with the Israeli cuisine. Make sure to check that the activity is also in English before signing up, as many of the activities are in Hebrew.

Where? In Jerusalem.

When? 19-23 November, 2019.

Official Website: Open Restaurants in Jerusalem.

Eilat Desert Marathon: An amazing sports event, this marathon begins in the desert and ends at the shore of the Red Sea in Eilat. This is the only marathon event in Israel that combines desert views with sea views. If you want to experience a marathon like no other, register and join the fun.

Where? In the Negev Desert around Eilat.

When? 29 November, 2019.

Official Website: Eilat Desert Marathon.

Hula Valley Bird Festival: Every year, thousands of birds migrate through Israel to Africa or to Europe and Asia. On this week long event you can experience Israel’s fall migration in the Hula Valley, one of the most important places on the route of the migrating birds. The festival offers excellent packages for a week long birding program, but even if you aren’t planning to spend the whole week in the valley, you should definately come here to see the wonderful migration during this time of year.  

Where? Hula Valley.

When? Dates for this year are not set yet. It usually takes place on the last week of November.

Top December Events in Israel:

Haifa “Holiday of the Holidays”: This unique event takes place in the northern city of Haifa, which is known for its great religious and cultural diversity. During the festival, the Jewish, Christian and Muslim residents of Haifa celebrate together Channukah, Christmas and the Ramadan. Channukah and Christmas are celebrated in December and the Ramadan sometimes falls on December as well. The festival includes interesting exhibitions, shows, tours and conferences.

Where? In downtown Haifa.

When? Throughout December.


Have a festive time in Israel!

If you liked this post or found it useful, I’d really appreciate a like, share or comment from you (:

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And be in touch if you’re looking for a tour guide in Israel.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Festivals & holidays

Top Annual Events in Israel – January to June

Israel is a festive country, full of festivals, events and holidays all year round. In one of my recent posts I’ve given you a list of the main holidays in Israel and tips on how to spend them. Now, just before the new year arrives, here are the top annual festivals and events in Israel from January to June. Even if you aren’t planning to take part in the events, I do recommend you check what events are going on during your dates of travel, so you will be prepared for the crowds or changes in traffic.

Some events are very popular, so you might want to book accommodation a while in advance. Here are links for comparing accommodation prices in the main cities:

Accommodation prices in Jerusalem,

Accommodation prices in Tel Aviv,

 Accommodation prices in Eilat,

Accommodation prices in Tiberias,

Accommodation prices in Haifa.

– 

Top January Events in Israel:

Sea of Galilee Marathon: The highest quality marathon event in Israel, that starts in the city of Tiberias, goes along the southern shore of the Sea of Galilee and ends in Tiberias. You’re invited to come and cheer the runners.

Watching the event is free.

Where? Tiberias, Sea of Galilee.

When?

Official Site: Tiberias International Winner Marathon.

Israman Eilat: This full and half iron distance triathlon is one of the biggest and most exciting sports event in Israel. The race includes running, cycling, and swimming. You can gather along the Royal Beach area at the Northern part of the Red Sea to see the swimming segment and cheer the competitors.

Watching the event is for free. Because of the event, some roads might be blocked during the event’s weekend (24-27 of January).

Where? All over Eilat. The swimming segment will take place near Royal Beach.

When? 

Official Site: Israman Eilat.

Top February Events in Israel:

International Eilat Chamber Music Festival: A wonderful musical event, hosting international and local chamber music artists. You can also take part in master classes and workshops.

The event requires pre-payed tickets.

Where? Dan Hotel Eilat.

When? This year was in end of January. 

Official Site: International Eilat Chamber Music Festival.

Winter Red Sea Jazz Festival: This musical event is so popular, that it also takes place during summer. During the festival, you will be able to enjoy a variety of jazz concerts and master classes. There are also late-night jam sessions.

The event requires pre-payed tickets.

When? This year between 20-22 of February 2020.

Where? In different venues in Eilat.

Official Site: Winter Red Sea Jazz Festival.

Tel Aviv Marathon: One of the leading sports events in Israel, this multi-course marathon is a great event to watch or participate in. The marathon runs along the beautiful seashore of Tel Aviv and through the main streets of the city. Come and cheer the runners! If you would like to participate in the marathon, you can register through the official website.

Watching the event is for free.

Where? The kick off area is on Rokach Blvd in Tel Aviv.

When? The race will take place this year on 28 February 2020.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Marathon.

Darom Adom Outdoors Festival: “Darom Adom” means “Red South” in Hebrew, because of the colors that the Negev gets during this time of year. Each year after the rainy season, the northern Negev is covered with wonderful scarlet red anemones. This, of course, is a reason to celebrate. For five weekends there are many activities for families travelling to the northern Negev, such as poetry readings, concerts, mountain bike marathons and more. If you won’t get a chance to take part in one of the activities, at least come to see the beautiful flowers.

Where? Throughout the northern Negev.

When? Throughout February.

Official Site: Darom Adom (in Hebrew).

Top March Events in Israel:

International Jerusalem Marathon: One of the biggest marathon events in Jerusalem. During this marathon you’ll see thousands of people running on the streets of Jerusalem, not only as part of the marathon, but also as part of the half marathon and other shorter races. If you aren’t planning on participating in the marathon events as a runner (which is an option if you register beforehand), you’re invited to cheer the runners from the sides of the streets. It’s free.

Because of the event, some roads might be blocked during the different races.

Where? Throughout Jerusalem.

When? The race will take place this year on 20 March 2020.

Official Site: International Jerusalem Marathon.

Tel Aviv Fashion Week: If you’re interested in fashion, you might be interested in participating in this fancy event. To watch the fashion shows, you need to purchase a ticket.

Where? Tel Aviv. Location not yet updated.

When? Not set yet.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Fashion Week.

Open Restaurants Festival Tel Aviv: A culinary event. For more info, check out the official website: Open Restaurants Festival Tel Aviv.

International Birdwatching Festival in Eilat: If you’re fond of birds, this is a festival for you. A bit north of Eilat stands the Birdwatching Park of Eilat. During March, thousands of birds are supposed to arrive in the area as part of their spring migration. Together with bird lovers from all over the world, you can watch the birds in the park and get professional explanations. On other days, the park stands quite empty and there’s usually no one who give explanations, so you might want to leverage this festival.

The entrance is free.

Where? In the birdwatching park north of Eilat. You can walk to the park (about a 40-minutes’ walk) or you can catch any bus going out of Eilat on road number 90 and ask the driver to get off at the Eilot roundabout. From there, you’ll have about a 20-minutes’ walk.

When?  This year between 22-29 March 2020.

Official Site: Birdwatching Festival.

Sounds of the Old City Festival: This is a magical event, that fills the Old City of Jerusalem with magnificent sounds of traditional music. During the festival, you’ll be able to walk through the four quarters of the Old City, the Armenian, the Jewish, the Muslim and the Christian quarters, and enjoy a whole new experience in each one of them.

The entrance is free.

Where? The Old City of Jerusalem.

When? This year between 24-26 March 2020.

Official Site: Sounds of the Old City Festival.

Top April Events in Israel:

Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival: A nice festival if you’re coming to Israel with your kids. During the festival, you will be able to enjoy colorful open-air performances in the area next to the Haifa Municipal Theatre or purchase a ticket to one of the theatre shows taking place inside the theatre.

Where? Haifa Municipal Theatre on 50 Pebzner Street.

When? This year between the 12-14 of April 2020.

Official Site: Haifa International Children’s Theater Festival.

“Zorba the Buddha” Meditation and Dance Festival: Come and celebrate Zorba in the enchanting and relaxing desert. This is one of the best meditation festivals in the area.

You will need to purchase a ticket to take part in the event.

Where? In Desert Ashram in Shitim settlement, on road number 40. There is an option of a shuttle from Tel Aviv. Check that option on their official website.

When? This year between 12-16 of April 2020.

Official Site: Zorba Festival.

Automotor – International Motor Show: If you’re a car lover, this event might be for you. During the event, you’ll be able to enjoy splendid car shows, displaying a variety of cars and motorbikes, including some very special cars.

This event requires a ticket. You can purchase online.

Where? The Israel Trade Fairs & Convention Center in Tel Aviv. Reachable by train.

When? Not set yet.

Official Site: Automotor.

Top May Events in Israel:

International Museum Day: Like in the rest of the world, we in Israel also celebrate the International Museum Day, with dozens of museums open free to the public. If you’re interested in visiting museums in Israel, you might want to shift your trip towards May.

Where? Throughout Israel.

When? 18th of May.

Menas

Israel Festival: This is a huge interdisciplinary festival known world-wide. The festival includes drama, music and dance performances that require a ticket and free outdoor performances.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.  If you are a student, you get 50{f224ba440c8e8489685f5be0eb52a1764ff3ab93b94d860236479bc3f69cbf7f} off the ticket, so don’t forget to bring your student ID.

Where? Throughout Jerusalem: at the Jerusalem Theatre (20 Marcus Street), Sultan’s Pool (Derech Hevron St. 1), the Israel Museum (11 Derech Ruppin), the Eden-Tamir Music Center (29 Hama’ayan St) and at Zion Square (25 Shamai Street).

When? Not set yet.

Official Site: Israel Festival.

Top June Events in Israel:

Midburn Festival (Israel’s Burning Man): You’re welcome to take part in this 6-days event, during which a temporary city is built from scratch in the Negev Desert. Then, the people live in this city, that allows a communal life style and radical self-expression. This is your chance to experience near-freedom. After 6 days, the city is burned down to the ground, as if it never existed.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? In the Negev, near the exit from road number 40.

When? Not set yet.

Official Site: Midburn Festival.

Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade: Tel Aviv is known for its gay community and every year during June the city comes to life in magnificent colors as the Gay Pride Parade passes through. Come support the gay community and enjoy the wonderful and fun atmosphere.

Where? The parade leaves from Me’ir Park and ends with a great party at Charles Clore beach.

When? This year the parade will take place on 12 June 2020.

Official Site: Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.

International Student Film Festival: This is one of the top cultural events in Tel Aviv, promoting academic artistry. It is considered one of the three best festivals of its kind in the world. During the festival you’ll be able to see the works of students from the Tel Aviv University’s Department of Film and Television, but also from other schools around the world. The festive week is filled with interesting films, master classes, workshops, exhibitions and parties.

Where? Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Sprinzok Street.

When? This year the festival will take place between 21-27 of June 2020.

Official Site: International Student Film Festival.

Jerusalem International Book Fair: The Jewish people are known as the “People of the Book”, so it is no wonder that the international book fair is so celebrated in Jerusalem. If you love reading, you might want to walk around the fair’s stalls and get inspired by the many books. You can also try to read the Hebrew titles.

The entrance is free.

Where? The First Station in Jerusalem (David Remez Street 4). Can easily be reached by bus.

When? Not set yet.

Official Site: Jerusalem International Book Fair.

White Night Tel Aviv: A great celebration taking place during one night in Tel Aviv, from the early hours of the evening to the next day. Throughout Tel Aviv you’ll find different exhibitions and activities. This is a very popular event, which draws Israelis from all over the state.

Most events are open for free. Some require a payment.

Where? Throughout Tel Aviv.

When? This year the festival will take place on 25 of June 2020.

Jerusalem Opera Festival: This is a grand opera event, set in the outstanding outdoors of the Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.

You will need to purchase a ticket for the festival.

Where? The Sultan’s Pool in Jerusalem.

When? Not set yet.

If you know of any more festivals or events from January to June in Israel, please let me know in the comments.


If you liked this post or found it useful, I’ll really appreciate a like, share or comment (:

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

Looking for a tour guide in Israel? I might be available. Contact me at lior@backpackisrael.com.

And check out what else you can do in Israel through my app – Travel Israel for Android and iOS.

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv

Best December Festivals in Israel

There are two major holidays celebrated in December: the Jewish Chanukah and the Christian Christmas. So, before I tell you about the other festivals and events, let me tell you a few words about celebrating Chanukah and Christmas in Israel:

Celebrating Chanukah in Israel: Chanukah is celebrated for eight nights and days, this year during December 2-10. During the holiday, in major squares you might see huge menorahs being lighted using electric bulbs and smaller menorahs sitting on the windowsills of houses. On the smaller menorahs you’ll see candles with real fire. You’ll also be able to enjoy the delicious jelly doughnuts (“suf-ga-nee-ot”) that are sold in every bakery shop.

Celebrating Christmas in Israel: Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem. This makes Israel a perfect place to celebrate the holiday! Come experience the prayers and the beautiful Christmas decorations. The best places to celebrate Christmas in Israel are Bethlehem (in the West Bank territory), Jerusalem, Nazareth, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. You can join Abraham Tour’s Christmas Tour in Bethlehem.

For more info, visit Holidays in Israel and How to Spend Them During Travel.

Jacob’s Ladder Festival –

One of the biggest musical events along the shore of the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). The festival will take place in the Nof Ginosar Hotel throughout the weekend. The program will include many types of music, including folk music, Jazz, Swing, Blues and World Music. Tickets are required to participate, so hurry before they’ll be sold out.

When? December 1-2, 2018.

Official site: Jacob’s Ladder Festival.

Looking for places to stay in the area? Check out the Tiberias Hostel or try to find good deals for hotels in Tiberias through hotelscombined.

Sounds of Music in the Desert Festival –

A wonderful festival, that brings to the Israeli desert some of the best Israeli musical artists. If you wish to experience Israeli music in the beautiful Israeli desert scene, this is the festival for you. Tickets are required to participate. Sadly, I couldn’t find a website in English, but you can try talking with the festival’s organizers by calling +972-50-5545501. There is also an option of purchasing the tickets on site. The festival takes place in Kibbutz Sde Boker.

When? December 5-8, 2018.

Jerusalem Jazz Festival – Come enjoy three days full of jazz in Jerusalem. During the festival, you can enjoy intimate shows in the Israel Museum (tickets required) and free jam sessions in the Yellow Submarine (on Wednesday and Thursday from 11:30PM).

When? December 12-14, 2018.

Official site: Jerusalem Jazz Festival.

Looking for places to stay in the area? Try finding good deals for hotels in Jerusalem through hotelscombined.

Cheap Jerusalem Tours on Saturdays:

Every weekend, the Jerusalem Municipality organizes interesting tours of Jerusalem, that leave at 10:00 AM from the Safra Plaza (Kikar Safra) next to the City Hall. There are tours are in English, costing only 15 ILS each. It’s worth checking out.

For more info, visit their site: Free Saturday Tours.

Will keep you updated on more events when I know about them! If you know of anything, I will very much appreciate if you leave the details in the comments. Thanks!

Have a wonderful weekend and Shabbat Shalom (:


This post has been updated for December 2018.

If you liked this post or found it useful, I’ll be glad to get a like, share or comment from you (:

Also, feel free to follow this blog and like my Facebook Page – Backpack Israel.

And check out my new app – Travel Israel for Android and iOS

Yours,

Lior

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem

Best June Festivals in Israel

Planning on visiting Israel in June? It’s almost summertime! You might want to know about some of the best festivals going on in June in Israel. Here are three of the best festivals taking place in June:

Israel Festival

One of the most important cultural festivals in Jerusalem, founded in 1961. Enjoy many musical, dance and theatrical shows, performed by artists from Israel and abroad. You need to purchase tickets beforehand, through the festival’s website – http://israel-festival.org/prices-and-specials/?lang=en.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? All around Jerusalem.

When? 26th of May until 11th of June.

Looking for a hotel in Jerusalem? Find yout hotel here.

Just Be Naked – Pashut Festival

If you’re interested in a truly special experience, we urge you to book a place in this unique festival, taking place in the Israeli desert. Pull off your clothes and feel truly free of masks. Take part in interesting lectures, workshops and parties. You do not have to be nude if you do not want to.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? In “Desert Ashram”.

When? 9-12 of June.

For more info, visit the official website of Pashut Festival.

Sunbeat Festival

One of the best global beat festivals in Israel. Enjoy plenty of live shows, parties and DJ music with local and international artists! You can sleep in a tent in the park during the festival.

The festival is not free of charge. 

Where? Nature Reserve Jordan Park in the northeastern Sea of Galilee.

When? 12-13 of June.

For more info, visit the offical website of Sunbeat Festival. 

 

 

Categories
Festivals & holidays Jerusalem Tel Aviv

The Best May Festivals in Israel

In Israel we like to have fun, celebrate occasions, discover new things and just enjoy our time. If you’re planning to come to Israel in May, you might want to know about some of the best festivals taking place in Israel at that time of year. Here are three of the best festivals taking place in May:

Light in Jerusalem Festival

This light festival is one of the most impressive festivals in Israel, taking place in Jerusalem. You can wander around the Old City of Jerusalem and admire the beautiful works of art that lighten up the Old City Walls. I’ve been to this festival last year and was enchanted by the wonderful light shows! Free of charge.

Where? The Old City of Jerusalem.

When? 25th of May until 2nd of June.

For more info, check the official site of Light in Jerusalem Festival 2016.

International Photography Festival

If you’re interested in photogrpahy and planning to visit Tel Aviv-Jaffa while in Israel this May, you should take part in this great festival. Hundreds of photographers will showcase their works of art in the different galleries, and many more photographic activities will take place. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Jaffa Port and The Old City.

When? 23rd of April until 7th of May.

For more info, check the official site of international Photography Festival.

Jacob’s Ladder Festival

One of the leading music festivals in Israel, taking place next to the Sea of Galilee (Kineret). This is the festival for all you music lovers. You can enjoy many different concerts, alongside other activities, such as dance and music workshops and yoga sessions. There’s planty of room for tents. The festival requires an entry fee. 

Where? Nof Ginosar, situated next to Kibbutz Ginosar, next to the Sea of Galilee.

When? 19-21 of May.

For more info, check the official site of Jacob’s Ladder Festival.