What’s special about Passover in particular, compared with all the other Jewish holidays, is that on the evening of the Seder meal, Jews from all around the world are doing exactly the same thing: sitting at a sumptuous table with family and friends, reading and singing through the Hagadah (the Passover story), and eating more or less the same symbolic foods.
However, in Israel, Passover is much more than the Seder night: Passover is a season unto itself. A week before the first night of Passover, all of Israel’s school children are let out on a vacation that will last the better part of two and a half weeks, much to the chagrin of their parents who are simultaneously juggling work, figuring out what their children will do for all that time, and trying to clean house and home—not just from all the leaven, but also from the stubborn layer of dust left by weeks of dusty weather that usually precedes Passover, coating windows, cars, balconies and anything else outside you can imagine worth cleaning.
Should I stay or should I go?
Many Israelis decide to skip all the fuss and just skip town: every year droves of Israelis fly overseas to pass their Passover in places like Italy, France, the US and even China. This year an estimated 1.1 million travelers will pass through Ben Gurion International Airport during the Passover travel season, a 15% increase from last year. Those of us who bravely remain behind have to clean, cook enormous amounts of food, figure out what to do with the kids, shop (groceries and more groceries plus holiday gifts for friends and family), and prepare for hosting or traveling to our Seder meals.
Once all the preparation and fuss is over and the wonderful Seder night has been enjoyed, the houses are clean, there’s lots of delicious food in the fridge and the weather is perhaps the best it will be all year: all the more reason for Israelis to put on their walking shoes and head out of doors. And that’s just what droves of Israelis do during the week of Passover by either taking to the multitudes of hiking trails across the country or participating in the countless activities, attractions and festivals being held all over the country. In Israel, Passover is truly a time of celebration and there’s a special feeling in the air, so if you’re in the area and looking for something to do during Passover, here are just a few options:
Activities of all Kinds: Israel Nature and Parks Authority (NPA)
The NPA conducts a variety of activities and events in the spirit of the holiday. A horse show at the Caesarea National Park Hippodrome, klezmer bands and storytelling at Beit She’arim National Park, a Roman Celebration at Beit She’an National Park, at the Herodian National Park local theater presents “This is Your Life King Herod” and much more…
More Info: National Parks Website
Cost: Aside from park entrance fees, most activates are free.
Matzah Map: Heritage Sites across Israel
You’re invited to come and experience a variety of activities, workshops, musical performances and more which will take place at 12 historical Israeli heritage sites across the country during Passover. Among the activities you’ll enjoy are guided tours by colorful historical figures, a variety of workshops for the whole family, face painting, puppet shows, magic shows, drumming workshops, soap bubbles complexes, karaoke for kids, memory games, puzzles and more. In addition, there will be various performances such as Udi and Aviad, Yuval Dayan at Mikveh Israel compound in Holon, Saba Tuvia will perform at Ben-Gurion’s cabin, Amir Benayoun will perform at the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem, and more.
Cost: No entrance fee
Journey in Time: Kefar Kedem
Let’s tell and relive the Exodus story, get dressed in the style of the height of ancient Egyptian fashion, milk goats and prepare cheese by hand, load everything on donkeys and go for an enjoyable ride with a variety of surprises along the way.
More Info: Tour takes place daily during Passover from 11:00-13:30. Order in advance by phone: 04-6565511
Cost: 85 NIS per participant
For a more exhaustive list in Hebrew: From the North to the South-Celebrating Passover
Whatever you choose to do this Passover we at KNI wish you a very Happy Holiday!