A Little Meat Goes A Long Way *Giveaway*


December 16th 2014

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This article and recipes are sponsored by Joburg Kosher.

One of the trends we have seen this year has been to use less meat in our diets for health and for the environment.  The best way to do that is to use very flavorful meat to flavor vegetable filled dishes.  Many non kosher people use bacon and prosciutto in this way, cured meats with a smokey and salty flavor.  We can use salami.  Joburg started as a Boerewors (South African Sausages) and Biltong (South African beef jerky) company.  Recently they have introduced an Old World Beef and Veal Salami.


The salami is sold fresh or dried with garlic or spicy.  You can slice up the dried salami and serve on an antipasto plate with a bunch of vegetables or you can chop it up and use it to flavor all your cooking.  Here are two recipes that are perfect for Chanukah or anytime and great to serve a crowd.  They both show how much flavor the Joburg salami can add to any dish.

These Cauliflower Salami latkes are made with the fresh salami that is filled with large peppercorns.  The flavor of the pepper and the fat from the salami works perfectly with cauliflower.  The latkes can also be made ahead, frozen even and reheated in an oven.  Everyone will love these latkes and it is a nice change of pace.

There are so many ways to make stuffed mushrooms, you can make them dairy, meat or parve and with every flavor you can imagine.  The main constant is that you want to pull out the stems, chop them fine and sauté them with aromatics like onion and garlic.  Thyme always goes particularly well with mushrooms, but you can use other herbs as well.  For this recipe I decided to add a little extra flavor with Joburg’s hard salami. When cut small and sautéed with the mushroom stems it acted almost like a bacon with a little extra spice from the peppercorns they stuff inside. These mushrooms were a real hit.

Stuffed Mushrooms with Salami

Cauliflower Salami Latkes

For more about Joburg Kosher and to order or find store locations click here. 

***Giveaway*** Now enter to WIN big with Joburg.   Enter below to win a Salami Sampler pack valued at $65. Prize includes:

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Latkes That Just Happen To be Vegan and Gluten...


December 15th 2014

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Every year I try and come up with a new kind of latke.   I know I am not alone in this task, it seems all us foodie bloggers are doing the same, we can’t seem to leave well enough alone and like to find new spins on old classics.  There is always new inspiration too. New trendy flavors, new products and sometimes just new thoughts.

Growing up my mom would always make potato, zucchini and mixed vegetable as her latkes of choice.  She isn’t the type to use a recipe and they always came out great.  When I started making latkes, I am going to be honest, it took me some time to figure out how to get them just right.  Sometimes they wouldn’t really cook through to the middle and I was left with a raw potato taste and sometimes they didn’t stick together.  My first successful latke that my family loves actually comes from Joan Nathan.  Her thin crispy latkes use grated potatoes and eggs only, so they are also gluten free.  I found making them thin was the trick and I love the long strands of potato.  The recipe is so good I actually won a latke making contest quite a few years back.

I always make at least one night/batch of those classic latkes, but after that I start to play.  This year, I started to make my own Harissa, based on the peppers you use it might not even be very spicy, but it is flavorful and my family loves it.  Inspired by the Moroccan flavor I figured I would use chickpea flour which binds we’ll enough that I wouldn’t need eggs or flour and my recipe was born. Make them bit size, make them large, whatever you do, mix in the harissa and serve a little extra mixed with light mayo as the ultimate topping.

Here is my recipe for Vegan Gluten Free Harissa Latkes.


Free 20 Recipe #WinnDixieKosher Chanukah Ebook


December 15th 2014

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4 Ways To Throw A Healthy and Easy Chanukah Party


December 12th 2014

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In my biggest, glossiest fantasies I imagine a very specific Chanukah party.

In this fantasy I’m calm and welcoming amidst all the cooking chaos.  (OK, I also want to be wearing my favorite clothes and the earrings my mother gave to me).

The menu: easy to prepare.
The food: gorgeous, delicious, healthy.

Sounds pretty amazing, right?
(A lot better than last-minute runs to the grocery store and post-meal food comas. right?)

After years of holidays that stressed me out and left me feeling bloated and regretful, I’ve finally (finally!) discovered menus and mindsets that make it possible to have the Chanukah we want, with the food and feelings we want.

I’ve started serving plant-based menus to my holiday guests. My meals come together quickly, with easily and affordably sourced ingredients, and I have more time to spend with my family and friends.

Here are four ways to throw a healthy, easy Chanukah.  

1. Keep it to yourself

Try keeping your healthy Chanukah plans a semi-secret. No “Fat-free latkas @my house, PM me if you’re interested” Facebook updates or “Chanukah salad bar @my place” tweets.

Many people are timid with food that’s been earmarked as “healthy.”  Let the gorgeous food speak for itself and think of yourself as a healthy Chanukah secret agent.

2. Flirt a little bit (with the food)

People flirt with food (think the last time you made audible noises while window food shopping.) We want people to flirt with your food – eyeing it and wanting to eat it and we can create flirt-worthy meals by making them beautiful first and delicious always.

Make the extra effort to present the food with thought and style. Beauty is an important part of the food experience, making food and its consumption “special.” My goal is always to make healthy food look twice as beautiful.

When we prepare “healthier” food,  we occasionally take it a bit too far, thinking “whatever is worth doing is worth overdoing.”

Dear reader, you might want to sit down for this but I must be direct: do not limit salt or sugar in your plant-based Chanukah dishes. Salt and sugar give people a lot of pleasure and should be included in your recipes. Let your guests enjoy themselves!

3. Avoid the all or nothing trap

Whole-food, plant-based eating does not have to be an all-or-nothing lifestyle. You can start experimenting in small ways that feel doable and exciting to you, like swapping out a single ingredient in your favorite Chanukah dish or preparing one plant-based recipe for your Chanukah party.

4. Wow them with dessert

Plant-based menus aren’t about deprivation! There are tons of luscious, delicious desserts that don’t include eggs or cup after cup of butter and cream. My family loves my vegan chocolate zucchini cake and there are so many options for sweets that won’t leave you comatose on the sofa.

Repeat with me: simple, fresh, and beautiful. This Chanukah is for us and within our reach.

P.S. People stress the symbolic importance of oil at Chanukah. Nobody said you have to eat the oil! Get an oil candle if it makes you feel more connected to the miracle. Think about it.

Now try my Sweet and Savory Mini Latkes and serve them with homemade Tofu Sour Cream and Chives or Applesauce


My 11 Latke Loves *Giveaway*


December 11th 2014

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Fried in oil and or dipped in chocolate are two of my general criteria for favorite foods.  Lucky me it’s Chanukah and there will be no shortage of fried in oil (dipped in chocolate) sweet and savory treats.  Here are my 11 latke loves:



Do not pass go, do not collect $200, in fact do not do anything until you’ve mastered the classic.  This, my grandfather’s latke recipe is the absolute best in the entire world.  Watch how easy and delicious it is to make here: Best Ever Latke Video.


Potato Pancakes with Guacamole and Poached Eggs

Potato Pancakes with Guacamole and Poached Eggs

Heaven on earth, your new year-round Sunday brunch.  Get the recipe for Potato Pancakes with Guacamole and Poached Eggs.

Caprese Latke

Elegant, beautiful, fresh, and creamy – skip the balsamic reduction (it’s not traditional anyway) if you don’t have time.  Enjoy Caprese Latkes.


Latkes that eat like a meal.  (There are lots of shortcuts you can take to make these on the clock.) South of The border Latkes with Black Bean Topping. 

 cauliflower carrot latke recipe

Cause the only thing better than a potato latke is a low carb latke. Carrot Cauliflower Latkes. 

 Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki

And the only thing better than a low carb latke is a lower carb latke. Zucchin Latkes with Tzatziki.


Potato and Parsnip Latkes

Parsnips are oh so underrated.  Don’t ignore this sweet flavored, creamy colored, root veg. Potato and Parsnip Latkes.


Carrot and Apple Latkes

Carrot and Apple Latkes

Slightly sweet and simple.  Carrot and Apple Latkes. 

Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie and Baby Arugula

 Pretty genius if I do say so myself.  Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie Baby Arugula


Steakhouse Latkes: Named so, cause they would make a great steak side.

Samosa Latkes

Different and delicious with mango chutney.  Watch how here:

What’s you favorite latke?  Do tell all in the comments below and then enter to win a $100 gift card from Winn-Dixie or a Joy of Kosher Cookbook.

Make sure to view and/or download our free ebook too – 20 Latkes and Doughnuts

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Disclosure: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Winn-Dixie, your neighborhood store, all opinions are my own.


/RECIPE/ Apple Cinnamon Latkas (Latkes)


December 11th 2014

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This week I was in LOVE with the #joktesters recipe list!!!! So many amazing options! It was great to help get me in the Hanukkah cooking mode. I decided to tackle the Apple Cinnamon Latkes for you all! Ok, so really they sounded amazing to me and I wanted to try them for myself, so I loved the excuse.

On to my review and ideas on this recipe.

First I would not put this recipe into the super easy category. First frying is fun on its own but these turn frying latkes into a whole new experience. They are much more delicate that their potato counter parts. But in the end they are worth it. I did try it fried in the normal and recommended way. I also baked part of the batch, as I generally burn myself less when I bake instead of fry. And yes, you can call me a cheater, but spraying a little olive oil on some of my Hanukkah treats and then baking them in a convection oven makes my holiday cooking go a lot smoother. And safer ;)

When whipping up the batch of latkes {and yes, I mean wh

ipping. A hand mixer would have been smart}I need to mention on the beating of the egg yolks to a “light lemon yellow color” mine are probably darker lemon colored. I purchase farm fresh eggs and their yolks are deeper colored than normal store bought ones. They do want to burn easily when frying. These latkes are much more fragile and need more soft treatment in the frying process. It was a gentle job to flip them. But they are also a nice light sweet treat. The beaten egg whites really make them a nice contrast to the heavier foods that Hanukkah brings {come on carbs!}


The verdict on the baked ones. They came out nice and sturdy and not delicate as the fried ones. They were a LOT easier to cook. I baked them on parchment paper {great clean up!} in a 375 degree convection oven. I then served both of them with greek yogurt with freshly ground cinnamon. YUM!

Results- They are a great light treat that require a bit more work than the average. But you can bake them and they come out great there too!

Leave your comments and let me know what you think! I would love to hear how it turns out for you!


Cooking With Joy: Spinach Turkey Meatloaf


December 11th 2014

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This was another early morning for me. In about 15 minutes the meatloaf was prepped and ready to go into the crock pot. It felt really great knowing that dinner was taken care of before I even left to work. I knew all I would have to cook when I got home was the sauce.

Jamie said that it could be left on low by adding a little chicken stock into the pot. About eight hours later when I walked through the door, the aroma that met me was amazing! The kids even said how yummy the house smelled!

The sauce was also really simple to prepare. The incredible scent of garlic sautéing always makes the house smell great. I let the sauce reduce a little before tasting it, man was it good! The acidity of the tomatos, along with garlic and basil made a perfect quick sauce.

 Oh I should mention that I used ground meat instead of ground turkey. If you recall- ground poultry is one of the things that I “don’t do”.

Slow Cooker Turkey Spinach Meatloaf page 157
DRESS IT UP Turkey Spinach Meatloaf Stuffed with Red Peppers and Zucchini

The meatloaf itself did come out a little dry, even with the swap out of proteins, but the flavors were all there. I served the meatloaf with rice pilaf and gave everyone a hefty drizzle of the sauce over the top of the plate. We really enjoyed this yummy weeknight supper.


Latkes: Stuffed, Topped & Paired to...


December 10th 2014

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This past shabbos someone asked me what to do for her Chanukah event asking “Aren’t people tired of latkes?”.  I staunchly replied no; Chanukah hasn’t even started, how can people be tired of latkes!  In some ways she was right, though, serving the same plain latkes year after year can make things feel a bit cliche or even kitschy.  It doesn’t take much to make latkes exciting, I mean fried potatoes alone (when done well) are pretty appetizing on their own.  Breathe new life into your Chanukah latkes by stuffing them, topping them with exciting sauces or dips, and even creating a meal around them.


Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie and Baby Arugula

Sour cream and applesauce are easily identifiable toppings for latkes, if they taste great why change them right?  Take these tried and true toppings and instead stuff them into the latkes with Cheddar and Potato Latkes with Spiced Applesauce, Apples and Sour Cream Stuffed Latkes, Baked Sweet Potato Latkes and Gingered Sour Cream or Mushroom and Sour Cream Stuffed LatkesIt is a custom for many to have a dairy meal on Chanukah, so why not make latkes even more delicious by stuffing them with dairy  with these Rosemary-Mascarpone Potato Latkes, Low-Fat Gluten Free Cheese Latkes, Sweet Potato Latkes with Brie and Baby Arugula or this Italian inspired mozzarella topped Caprese Latke.



Zucchini Latkes with Tzatziki

Change things up by making exciting dipping sauces to alongside traditional and modern latkes and by mixing different vegetables or meats into your latke batter.  Zucchini makes for a great latke in these Zucchini Latkes with Tatziki Sauce and Zucchini Latkes with Yogurt Curry Sauce.  Other great vegetable latkes are Cauliflower Carrot Latkes, Brussels Sprout Latkes, Savory Curried-Coriander Pumpkin Latkes, Beet and Carrot Latkes and Herb Leek Pancake with Light Mayo and Roasted Eggplant Sauce.  Or try these comfort food latkes, Mashed Potato and Kale Latkes and Pastrami Latkes with Sweet-Chili Mayo Sauce.



Pick a theme and plan your meal around a festive latke.  Some of these latkes are meals on their own, such as the Salmon and Green Goddess Stuffed LatkesSouth of the Border Latkes with Black Bean Topping, and Pulled Brisket + BBQ Sauce Stuffed Latkes.  Or try these themed sides: Scallion Potato Latkes with Ginger Dipping Sauce, Wasabi Potato Latkes, Sweet and Spicy Sweet Potato Latkes, and Cajun Potato Latkes.



Check out more latke ideas here!


The Secrets Behind Israeli Street Food


December 10th 2014

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Who hasn’t eaten a delicious dish at a restaurant or fast food counter and tried to replicate it at home?

When it comes to the replication of a dish from an elite restaurant, it is actually not as complicated as you might expect. Yes, it involves much preparation, buying special ingredients, but the cooking techniques, even if they look complicated, can be learned at any cooking school, through books, and even through online videos. Sometimes, chefs generously provide a pretty accurate recipe.

Street food, however, is an entirely different story.

Preparation skills are passed on from father to son and are really threatened to become extinct from the world.  Secret spices especially are a lot of the mystery.

This is where I come in.

I love to cook, love to eat. Everything. But mostly I love street food.

But if there is something that really brings me satisfaction it is to crack the secret behind street stalls everyone pilgrimages to, the one that immortal dishes have entered the Israeli Pantheon of food.

So before we get into the thick of things, I want to reveal the greatest secret. Yes, yes right away.

Think Cheap!

I know that with all the progress in food culture and cooking in this country, we have started to get used to using ingredients of the best quality we can achieve, vinegar Jerez from Spain, Atlantic salt collected by old French maids only during a full moon, and amazing flour imported through no man’s land from the land of the boot and sold for antique pennies.

So no, I’m not saying buy tomatoes that have seen better days, but I can assure you that if the guy from the Sabich, the tasty one, is debating between buying fresh black peppercorns, and using standard ground black pepper, the price will decide and the answer is obvious.

So yes, it will be expressed in the taste, but for the better, because I promise you that it will taste exactly the same as the street vendor’s. The taste you long to return to time and time again, the same flavor you’re trying to achieve at home.

So start to think cheap.

Let’s talk a moment about burekas.

Why burekas, you’re probably asking?

Why not to crack the immortal hummus or the secrets to the falafel or the fresh pita?  Do not worry friends, even their secrets we will reveal, but on the way we will debunk some myths and mistakes that have taken root.

As a child, my father used to take me to downtown Haifa, to the sailors, to buy counterfeit jeans for pennies. I tried on the jeans behind a curtained booth in the middle of the busy street. A rather dubious experience, but what didn’t we do to wear brand names.  To sweeten the experience we would go to the Burekas stand next door. There, on a heated plate on coals, lay wonderful burekas. Not made from store-bought phyllo dough or puff pastry, God forbid, but authentic Turkish dough stretched by hand into almost transparent leaves, a skill passed from generation to generation.

Later I found out this wonderful dough goes by the name of YUFKA. The seller would break off a golden bureka and serve it on paper with a hard boiled egg and pickles next to it. A bite here, a bite there, the pickles were always finished before the burekas, but I was ashamed to ask for more. Later there were competitors to that original burekas cart, all good, but that downtown burekas cart will always have a soft spot in my heart.

When I grew up, in my “wild” days, after a night of playing Snooker, I would go to the burekas cart at the Kiryat Ata intersection, savoring the meat burekast, but mostly watching the same Turkish guy, who did not know a word of Hebrew, but amazingly stretched the ball of dough, as he swung it in the air, until it became a transparent mat, and folded, filled, and sent it to the oven. Every time I would look at him and wait for the magic to happen. Watching and studying the movements, counting the number and type of folds, waiting with him for the smell to envelope the place and the toasty burekas to come out of the oven.

For twenty years I’ve been trying to recreate that unforgettable memory in my home kitchen. Tried and failed, replaced dough, oils, and types of filling. Only the technique has remained the same. At first I tried to get fancy. I’ll make Burekas filled with regular ground beef? Only the best for me! Only Lamb shoulder, ground once, a coarse grinding. Add a bit of pistachios, freshly ground black pepper, even a little cardamom … we’ll bring the burekas to new heights, the original burekas vendor didn’t even dream of. So… no. And do not get me wrong, it always came out good, but simplicity always wins. Regular ground beef from the supermarket, regular ground black pepper that gives a different spiciness than coarsely ground pepper and LOTS of onion. That’s about it. Have we mentioned you should think cheaply?

So there it is, the big secret of the meat burekas from the burekas cart. And as a bonus, attached is a recipe for pickles with a taste of the past, ones that together with a boiled egg and a little freshly grated tomato, will accompany the Burekas and bring tears of joy to your eyes. Guaranteed.

Try my recipe for Homemade Authentic Borekas and Pickles From Saba.

Article and recipes translated by Yael Davidovics.


The Best Chanukah Recipe That Is Not A Latke *WIN*


December 9th 2014

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This year try something new and different for your Chanukah party or even just one of your eight nights at home with the family.   Sure we are big latke fans over here on Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller, have you seen the new issue of the magazine with a cover full of latkes? Or have you browsed our collection of over 90 Laktes right here on the site? Once you are done with all those come back here and try something new.

Most people have only ever had these at a bar or restaurant, often they come from the freezer.  Some people shy away completely for fear that they will be to spicy.  If you give them a shot, even the spice averse will find that homemade Jalapeño poppers are worth a fry (try).  When you remove the seeds from a Jalapeño you remove most of the spice and then when you cook it, you tame it more and finally when you stuff it with cheese and cover in bread crumbs, all you get is crispy, cheesy perfection!!

What better way to celebrate Chanukah, a holiday of oil and frying and a holiday of dairy, then to combine them both in these Jalapeño poppers and dip them in a mildly spicy Wasabi mayo sauce from Gold’s.  In this recipe, Sina combines feta, cheddar and cream cheese for a real unique flavor combination.  But you can fill these peppers with anything you want, just make sure cheese is involved and that you save some Gold’s for dipping.

Get the full recipe for Jalapeño Poppers and Wasabi Dipping Sauce here.


Now you can get a whole set of Gold’s sauces, just enter to WIN with Rafflecopter below.

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Disclosure: This post and giveaway is sponsored by Gold’s.


Israeli Inspired Sufganiot


December 8th 2014

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Nothing says Chanukah in Israel like sufganiot. About 15 minutes after the completion of the sukkot holiday bakeries all over the country start getting ready for Chanukah, more than a month and a half away, flooding their store fronts, print adds, and Internet sights with mouthwatering samples of their gorgeously crafted and oft uniquely flavoured seasonal treats. Gone are the days of raspberry jam filled, powdered sugar covered sufganiot. The classic has evolved into gourmet offerings ranging from caramel cream and chocolate filled, to specialty confections featuring halva, pistachio, espresso, and other high end pastry creams. Over the past few years some bakeries developed the ingenious system of incorporating small infusion bottles filled with sweet liquors into their treats, making the whole sufgania experience into one Israelis and visitors alike anxiously look forward to.

As a family we definitely enjoy sampling the bakery treats early in the holiday. But nothing quite compares to homemade sufganiot warm and soft prepared with love at home. Here is a unique take on a favourite Israeli coffee house confection. An easy to prepare homemade sufgania filled with a no bake mousse like cheesecake filling, topped with a simple glaze and covered with a home-made crumble topping. Perfectly balanced and not over the top sweet, a perfect dairy dessert in the spirit of Chanukah in Israel.

Here’s my recipe for Israeli Sufganiyot.

Photos by: Photoli Photography by Andrea Brownstein - www.photoli.net


Strawberry Jalapeño BBQ Chicken Wings


December 5th 2014

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Posted 12/05/2014 by Melinda Strauss
Instead of just marinating your chicken wings in plain barbecue sauce, jazz it up by adding chopped jalapeno and strawberries for a sweet and spicy kick. I use Gold's Barbecue Sauce for the perfect semi-homemade marinade.

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Day In Jerusalem: Hanukkah


December 5th 2014

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The holiday feeling is in the air in Jerusalem. The local bakeries have started to compete with their gourmet sufganiyot flavors. You can find traditional donuts in the following flavors; banana cotte, Irish crème, pistachio, Crème Brule, biscotella and more. It’s worth a trip to Israel for Hanukkah just to see all the gourmet options.

Once you have tasted your perfect choice, it’s time to plan your activity itinerary. Instead of our traditional daily itinerary we would like to offer you lots of great suggestions for Hanukka activities in Jerusalem.

  • Candle Lit Scavenger Hunt:  Race through the back alleyways of the Old City or Nachlaot and enjoy this interactive game with your kids as you learn about the history of the neighborhood. As a bonus on Hanukka you will be able to see all of the neighborhood Hanukiyot lite up the night sky.
  • Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball Game: Come and see the new Jerusalem Arena located next to Teddy Stadium. The arena hosts the local Jerusalem basketball team, Hapoel and they will be playing over Hanukka. Nothing compares to sitting in the bleachers and hearing the crowd scream a “Go Jerusalem” chant. They even have VIP Bar Mitzva experiences where you can sit in a special box where you are served a kosher dinner, meet the players and play with Tamir Goodman, the “Jewish Jordan.”
  • VIP Movie for Kids: So you might wonder what is a VIP movie for kids? At Cinema City Jerusalem a VIP ticket includes a full dairy “kid friendly” buffet meal, all you can eat ice cream, popcorn and drinks. The seats in the theater are extra comfy with massage features and this Hanukka you can enjoy a special showing of “Night at the Museum” in English with a VIP ticket on Sunday December 21.
  • Origami Workshops at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory: This is a hidden gem in Jerusalem located on a hilltop next to the Knesset. Learn about the birds who migrate through Israel and how to create origami birds.
  • Bambu:This incredible unique exhibit at the Israel Museum has been extended till April. Visitors (ages 6+) climb through the interactive art installation in the Sculpture Garden. Made entirely of Bamboo and climbing rope this exhibit was created by the Starn brothers and allows you to climb up the steps and the paths and view the Jerusalem Hills and the top of the Israel Museum.

I can’t possibly list all of the activities over Hanukkah because there are so many.  Candlelighting ceremonies, children’s shows, concerts, museum events, hikes, and so much more.  I hope this blog post has given you the inspiration to spend your next Hanukkha in Jerusalem, especially with your family.

For more ideas of activities and events in Jerusalem for your family, contact joanna@funinjerusalem.com, and I would be happy to give you some personalized recommendations.

To see my other ideas for a Day In Jerusalem click here.