A new phrase has been “coined” this year “Thanksgivukkah” as a way of describing the rare occurrence of Hanukka and Thanksgiving falling out on the same weekend. Considering that Hanukka begins first and lasts longer, I have decided to refer to it as Hanukkagiving. So you might think this would have been a great time to post about Volunteer Opportunities and ways to “give” but we took care of that last month in our post called Volunteer Tourism. The Thanksgiving activities in Jerusalem are scarce and the days of Norman’s Thanksgiving Feast on Emek Refaim are long gone so to celebrate Thanksgiving, I recommend a nice family turkey dinner at home.
Let’s focus on some unique ways to celebrate Hanukkah in Jerusalem.
How often are you given the opportunity to stand in the center of history? To experience a holiday in the exact location where the miracle originally occurred? It’s truly a privilege to be able to choose from a variety of activities in Jerusalem, as a way of celebrating Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. I’ve chosen to share my four favorite holiday activities.
Old City of Jerusalem
- “Light Up The City Family Tour”: This unique candle lit tour takes you through the Old City of Jerusalem. Follow the lights of the Hanukkiot lit in the streets, the windows and most beautifully within the stone walls of the alleyways in the Old City. This family focused tour entertains kids and adults with stories, puzzles and riddles about the Old City and the history of this miraculous holiday. The grand finale of the tour is a view of the Kotel “Western Wall” with the large Hanukkiah lit on the Kotel Plaza.
The overwhelming beauty of the Jewish Art & Life Gallery at the Israel Museum takes on a special meaning during Hanukkah. My favorite exhibit is the one room devoted to Hanukkiot from different time periods and different communities.
- SketchBook Tour of the Israel Museum: I love to make things interactive when it comes to entertaining the family. I would suggest taking a Sketchbook Tour in this special gallery led by Polly, a Fulbright Scholar and artist. Polly teaches kids and adults to look for the details, find the pieces that inspire them and then to capture that inspiration in their own sketchbooks. Reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jerusalem’s Diverse Neighborhoods One of the beauties of Jerusalem is the diversity of her inhabitants. As you walk down the block, the neighborhoods change, the communities differ and the people can tell you a different story. Jerusalem’s inhabitants love to share and the stories are worth hearing especially when you can learn about Jews from different backgrounds and how we all celebrate the same holidays with our own spices and flavors.
- Mekor Baruch Home Encounter: Join locals and tourists as you are led around one of Jerusalem’s oldest neighborhoods. You will be welcomed into Ahuva’s home for coffee, tea and cookies as she explains to you about the Haredi lifestyle specifically for Hasidim from Gur, what it is like to live in her neighborhood and how she became the “Savta Cholent Champion” of Jerusalem. The tour ends with a Challah Baking workshop led by Ahuva, including some great Hanukka ideas for challah shapes.
- Ein Kerem Home Encounter: Experience Yemenite hospitality when Kinneret invites you into her home; the home where her family has lived since 1948. Learn about her unique Yemenite culture and the story of her Saba Shalom who bravely convinced his family to settle in Ein Kerem. Kinneret will share special Hanukka memories with you. The tour includes Yemenite music and dance as well as a tour of the local artists in the beautiful neighborhood of Ein Kerem. Reservations: Encounters@funinjerusalem.com
Gourmet Sufganiyot When suggesting my favorite Hanukkah activities to do in Jerusalem, I have saved the best one for last or at least the sweetest one. For kids (and adults like me who are willing to admit it) one of the highlights of the Hanukkah season is when the Roladin Bakery announces its sufganiyot menu. Roladin, a chain of high end bakeries throughout Israel, prides itself on its unique flavors and I have included the menu below and some pictures which can speak louder than words. Yes its worth planning your next trip to Israel for Hanukkah!
- Traditional Strawberry
- Traditional Caramel
- Belgian Chocolate & Cream
- White Chocolate Caramel
- Pistachio Cherry Mania
- Chocolate Chocolate
- Candy Covered Chocolate
- Halva & White Chocolate
- Biscuit: Oreo Streusel
Specialty Chasers: includes a chaser of alcohol inserted into the sufganiya
- Bianco Chocolate
Stay tuned for next month’s Day in Jerusalem…”Entertaining the Teens”.