From dreidels to latkes and everything in between, Hanukkah has become a holiday filled with joy and celebration. Known as the Festival of Light, Hanukkah commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, freedom of worship and religion, and of course, the oil miraculously lasting 8 days when it was expected to last one. This year, continue your favorite Hanukkah traditions through a variety of virtual Hanukkah events and activities right from your home! Don't let this holiday season be any less exciting than the last. Hanukkah is meant to be celebrated, and thanks to the many virtual celebrations and activities listed below, this year will be just as exciting, tasty, and special as it has ever been before! Festival: Virtual Israeli Cultural Evening and Chanukah Celebration December 10th, 2020; 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM EST Come join the Virtual Historic Tour of Hanukkah to not only celebrate this holiday season, but also to experience a virtual visit to Israel! Explore the rich history of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, and Tel Aviv in a cultural and diverse Israeli-based evening. An expert tour guide will explain the origins of this joyous holiday, but it doesn't stop there! Take part in virtual Israeli cooking and wine demonstrations, with interactive and engaging musical and dance presentations from native performers. There will also be classic Hanukkah traditions and games for people of all ages to enjoy! Festival: Hanukkah - The Festival of Lights, Virtual Edition December 9th, 2020; 6:00 PM EST This Hanukkah, join The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and J Arts for a meaningful and exciting virtual celebration! There will be a variety of family-friendly programs and activities involving Hanukkah music, arts and crafts, Hanukkah stories, and digital Hanukkah animations. Honor the significant history and rich traditions through cultural music, dances, artist conversations, and a special community candle lighting ceremony. Film Festival: 8 Nights of Films for Hanukkah December 10th-17th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events To celebrate the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival's 40th anniversary, the Jewish Film Institute has organized a special and unique event, containing a drive-in movie and online screenings to honor the many decades of their history. Don't miss out on guests and remembrances relating to the Jewish cinema, with additional clips and trailers from the past 40 years. Join these 8 days of programming and have the opportunity to watch some well known Jewish classics such as “Film About A Father Who”, “Sublet”, and “Born in Jerusalem and Still Alive” to say a few. Make sure to light your candles, grab some latkes and sufganiyot, and enjoy a variety of films in honor of Hanukkah. Festival: Virtual Hanukkah Event December 11th-18th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events Let the JCC bring some added Hanukkah fun and excitement to you this holiday season! Creating beautiful crafts, taking a virtual photo gallery tour of unique Hanukiahs, and singing and dancing to a variety of Hanukkah music is only just the beginning of what this virtual event has to offer. Come hungry because you can find many new delicious recipes and view pre-recorded cooking demonstrations as well! Enjoy daily Maccabee Warrior intensive training with personal trainers, read nightly Hanukkah stories, and of course, don't miss out on virtual candle lighting ceremonies. You never know, maybe you’ll even discover new traditions to include in your future Hanukkah celebrations! Holiday: Hanukkah at Home - Virtual Worldwide Lighting December 22nd, 2020; 6:00 - 6:30 PM EST Don't miss out on Lab/Shul Ritual Team for special Hanukkah inspired songs, stories, poetry, and more! Feel the joyous celebration as Rabbi Amichai and The Lab/Shul Team lead people of all ages and religions worldwide to light the symbolic holiday candles, illuminating so many houses around the world. Families with young children have an additional opportunity to join an 'Online Virtual Play Time' event. Here, join superstar kiddie rocker ShirLaLa, Lab/Shul Executive Director, Sarah Sokolic, and special guests of all ages including our favorite puppets! Holiday: Latkes & Light, A Virtual Family Hanukkah Celebration December 13th, 2020; 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EST While people may not physically be together this Hanukkah, no one should ever be celebrating alone! Join the Jewish Community Center of Denver to light and bless the Hanukkah menorahs together, as one large community. This celebration is geared towards children ages 2-10, who will have the opportunity to sing, dance, and play Hanukkah themed activities. This event will feature educators from Jewish Explorers, Judaism Your Way, Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, and PJ Library. Additionally, in honor of this celebration, The Tzedakah Project will benefit the JFS Weinberg Food Pantry, and there will be further discussions about the significance and impact that Tzedakah has on the world! Festival: Holiday of Holidays December 10th-20th, 2020; Time Varies for Different Events This Hanukkah, take part in the unique Holiday of Holidays Festival and contribute to promoting tolerance and mutual respect through culture and art! While exhibits are unfortunately unable to be physically displayed, join the online events showcasing art exhibitions and artist meetings, allowing one to be exposed to the beautiful array of culture and diversity within Israel. This festival provides the opportunity to take part in activities highlighting the positivity and benefits of developing relationships with other cultures. Learn the significance of breaking these unnecessary barriers, and develop or strengthen your trust between a variety of nationalities, ethnic groups, and religious groups throughout the Holy Land. Festival: Hanukkah 2020 Gift December 10th-17th, 2020; Time Varies Based on Location Come and join eight international tour guides as they guide us on a virtual trip around the world! Explore Jewish geography, discover the captivating history, and even take a hot air balloon tour, all while meeting other Jewish participants in this exciting virtual opportunity! Expand your Jewish community to people you never thought you would meet and connect with groups from Australia, Uganda, Turkey, Italy, Spain, and so much more. Give the gift of learning this Hanukkah season and get exposed to the significance and beauty of Jewish diversity all around the world.
Tel Aviv is the most populous city in the Gush Dan metropolitan area of Israel. Located on the Israeli Mediterranean coastline with a population of 460,613, it is the economic and technological center of the country. Considering East Jerusalem as part of Israel, Tel Aviv is the country's second-most populous city after Jerusalem; if not, the most populous city before West Jerusalem. Tel Aviv is governed by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, headed by Mayor Ron Huldai, and is home to many foreign embassies. It is a beta+ world city and is ranked 25th in the Global Financial Centres Index. Despite its size, it contains the third or fourth-largest economy and the largest economy per capita in the Middle East, but has the 31st highest cost of living in the world. Tel Aviv receives over 2.5 million international visitors annually. The city was founded in 1909 by the Yishuv (Jewish residents). It was perceived to be a modern housing estate on the outskirts of the ancient port city of Jaffa, and was considered to be part of the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem within the Ottoman Empire. It was initially called 'Ahuzat Bayit' (lit. "House Estate" or "Homestead"), the name of the association that established the neighborhood. The following year, the name changed to 'Tel Aviv', after the biblical name 'Tel Abib' was adopted by Nahum Sokolow. This was the title for his Hebrew translation of Theodor Herzl's 1902 novel Altneuland ("Old New Land"). Additional Jewish suburbs of Jaffa that were established before Tel Aviv eventually became part of the city, the oldest among them being Neve Tzedek, which was established in 1886. Tel Aviv was given "township" status within the Jaffa Municipality in 1921, and became independent from Jaffa in 1934. After the 1947–1949 Palestine War, Tel Aviv began the municipal annexation from parts of Jaffa. Eventually, it became fully unified with Jaffa under the name "Tel Aviv" in April 1950. It was then renamed to the Tel Aviv as we know it today being "Tel Aviv-Yafo" in August 1950. Jewish refugee immigration to Israel was so immense that the growth of Tel Aviv soon outpaced that of Jaffa, which had a majority Arab population. Tel Aviv and Jaffa were later merged into a single municipality, two years after the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence. To learn more about this historic day, make sure you stop by Independence Hall. Tel Aviv's White City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, comprises the world's largest concentration of international style buildings, including Bauhaus and other related modernist architectural styles. There is even a Bauhaus Center dedicated to showcasing the functional yet pristine design movement throughout Tel Aviv. Additional must-see sites include the Tel Aviv Art Museum, which is home to a notable collection of local and international art, Rabin Square, Israel’s most famous plaza dedicated to Yitzhak Rabin, Israel’s Prime Minister who was assassinated after a pro-peace rally, and of course, the infamous Tel Aviv beach promenade. If you're visiting Israel during the summer and looking to escape the heat and learn more about this city's history, Tel Aviv is filled with amazing museums like the Eretz Israel Museum, the Palmach Museum, and the Museum of the Jewish People; and conveniently, these museums are located close to one another. There is no shortage of famous and renowned people who have strong roots in Tel Aviv. One of the most notable and revered is Meir Dizengoff, the first Mayor of Tel Aviv. He is known and respected as someone who had such clear visions and hope for the future of this city. People trusted that he would succeed in making his visions come to come to life and he constantly did. Dizengoff was active in the Hibbat Zion Movement and later formed a Jewish workers' organization. He participated in Zionist Congresses and was a founder of the Gulah Company, formed in 1904 to purchase land in Israel. He additionally founded The Ahuzat Bayit Company, organized to establish a modern Jewish quarter near the Arab city of Jaffa in 1909. When Tel Aviv officially became a city in 1921, Dizengoff was elected as its first mayor and served until the end of his life in 1937. Upon the outbreak of the 1936 Arab riots, Dizengoff urged that the government offices be opened in Tel Aviv and succeeded in establishing a separate port at Tel Aviv, independent of Jaffa and its port. Dizengoff was one of the major initiators and dedicated supporters of culture in Israel. A highly spiritual, yet social individual he encouraged cultural life in all its variations. To this day, Tel Aviv has followed Dizengoff's life interests and has become the center of a bustling and vibrant life. Chaim Topol is a Tel Aviv born Israeli actor who is best known for playing the character of ‘Tevye’, a dairyman, in the musical comedy-drama ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ on stage and screens in his career. He is a man of many talents - not only is he a great actor but also a singer, producer, comedian, voice artist, and illustrator. As an Israeli, he has achieved many features in the international stage of the show business, including being the first-ever Israeli to be nominated for the Academy Awards.
Looking to tantalize your taste buds? Look no further! Israel’s Top 10 Ethnic Restaurants are sure to get your appetite going, whether you are looking for meal suggestions or just want to try something new this blog has something in it for everyone. From Persian delicacies in Tel Aviv, via eastern European feasts in Haifa to Moroccan meals in Beer Sheva, we recommend you try them all! Ha’Sabich Shel Ovad, Givatayim At number 2 is Ha’Sabich Shel Ovad – or translated, THE Ovad’s Sabich. Whether the ‘The’ refers to owner Ovad or the sabich sandwich (pitta with aubergine, hard-boiled eggs, salads and tahnini), both are infamous and classically Israeli with a fresh, modern twist. Make the schlep to Givatayim and you won’t regret it; we’ll bet that this is the best sabich you’ll find across not only Israel but the middle east and the world. Kebab Emuna, Beer Sheva Since 1958, hidden away in Israel’s desert south, lies the legendary True Kebab. No, really – Kebab Emuna translated is ‘True Kebab’. Go for the Iraqi kebab; stay for the colorful and plentiful salads served alongside. And to tell people you’ve discovered the one, the only, the ‘True Kebab’. Azura, Jerusalem As the sun rises over Jerusalem, the smell of traditional Iraqi and Kurdish food escapes onto the street. If you’re craving homemade sofrita or kubbeh soup, both Iraqi-Kurdish delicacies, or just curious, this is your stop. Much like the other attractions in central Jerusalem, the food is unmissable and it’s best to arrive early to get a seat. Maayan Ha'Bira, Haifa Haifa is famous for the Baha’i gardens, Elijah’s Cave and Maayan Habira. Whether you’re after a beer and a buzzing atmosphere or some of its famous chopped liver (so what if it’s better than your mom’s? We won’t tell), it’s the place to be. Make it a Tuesday night to hear some legendary live jazz. Café Glida Yonek, Haifa Or, if you’re after rival Eastern European Haifa-based cuisine, Café Glida Yonek’s Romanian kebabs (made with a closely guarded top secret recipe) are to die for, as are their various, carefully prepared steaks. Its authentic atmosphere will be a certain trip highlight. Salimi, Tel Aviv Take a break from the Tel Aviv market at Salimi, the Persian restaurant around the corner. Off the tourist track (no flashing cameras and Hawaiian shirts here, please) you’ll eat some of the most appetizing and carefully selected gourmet grilled food. Your best bet is the Sabzi, a rich, herb-based soup, or their famous gondi dish, also known as the Iranian matzoh ball. It’s just what you need to prepare for a second round of hard bargaining. Ha'Kosem, Tel Aviv Ah, falafel – similar to other items on our list, a trigger for heated debate amongst Israelis. Tel Aviv’s Eric Rosenthal – nicknamed ‘The Magician’, he’s just that good – has made traditional Israeli fare into a highly-regarded art form, starting with his infamous gourmet falafel. Not up for it? There’s also shawarma, sabich, and shakshuka to tempt you. Chacho, Netanya In a city well-known for its large French and Russian populations, it’s strange to think that at the top of our list is Netanya’s very own, erm, Libyan restaurant. Yes, you read that correctly – for over 40 years, the Vatori family have fed the European hordes their epic North African offerings, with sumptuous stews overnight on a kerosene stove, or freshly grilled meat with a side of couscous. Don’t like what’s on offer? Come back tomorrow – the menu changes frequently, keeping wannabe patrons on their toes. Yakuta, Beer Sheva Picky eaters – here’s one for you! Well, if you like North African food, that is. If you do, then Yakuta, in Beer Sheva, will personalize your dish to just the way you want it. Our pick is the delicious, authentically-Morrocan tagine, served in an earthenware pot. There’s also a huge menu, so there’s something for even the fussiest. Morris, Jerusalem Greek and Persian food is alive and well in the heart of Jerusalem at Morris, named after the owner who personally supervises the food being offered to his customers. There’s only the best on offer here – from a quick arak with friends, to classic, family-feeding Persian charcoaled grills. Whether it’s an entrecote steak, duck liver or skewered sweetbreads you’re craving, this is fusion cuisine at its finest.