Christmas in the Holy Land: Jerusalem Events

Want to get in the Christmas spirit in Jerusalem? These events will certainly spread the joy.

Still in the Christmas spirit? Glad to hear it, because yesterday's tourist tip – which highlighted some of the events taking place in Nazareth – was just the beginning of our preview of Christmas-related events around the country. Today we head south to Jerusalem to see what's on the agenda there.

Churches and chocolate

This tour takes place a whole five days before Christmas, but the Christian Quarter will already be decorated with festive lights and spruce trees. Guides from the Yad Itzhak Ben-Zvi Institute will lead the tour, which visits churches in Jerusalem featuring displays that tell New Testament stories and the tale of the birth of Jesus. There will also be stops at gift shops carrying Christmas-related items such as Santa chocolates and trees. Christmas customs, ceremonies and prayers will be discussed as well

When: December 20, 9 A.M. – 12 P.M.

Cost: NIS 80; for information, call 02-5398855

Bells and symbols

The Saturday version of this tour will visit the city's Christian Quarter as well as some caves built especially for the occasion at different Catholic churches. The Beit Shmuel non-profit organization is organizing this tour, which will also discuss various symbols relating to Christianity and the birth of Jesus as described in the New Testament, such as honey candles, the color red, the Virgin Mary, the three Magi and the Star of Bethlehem. The Christmas Eve version of the tour will begin with a lecture at Beit Shmuel about the masses the group will attend, and will continue to churches around the city.

When: December 21, 10 A.M.; December 24, 7 P.M.

Cost: NIS 95; for information, call 02-6203461 or 02-6203606

Schubert and carol singing

The Jerusalem A-Cappella Singers, the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir under the direction of Ofer Dalal and the Jerusalem YMCA’s Jerusalem Youth Chorus, featuring Israeli and Palestinian singers directed by Micha Hendler, will hold a special Christmas concert of holiday songs at the YMCA. Soloists include Marina Ganshin (harp), Svetlana Bandikova (piano) and soprano Rina Schechter. Judi Axelrod conducts. The concert will include pieces by Schubert, Mozart, Debussy and conclude with traditional communal carol singing.

When: December 24, 7 P.M.

Cost: NIS 50; for information, call 02-6237000

Concert and tour

The Hallelujah concert of the Alei Gefen choir comes with a tour of the Old City in the footsteps of different Christian denominations. The choir will perform along with the Charlotta Chorale of Tel Aviv, under the direction of Eli Gefen, whose musical background includes stints as the bassoonist in the Israeli Chamber Orchestra and the baritone soloist in many leading choirs in Israel. More details can be obtained at the Tower of David - Museum of the History of Jerusalem.

When: December 27, 10:30 A.M.

Cost: Concert and tour - NIS 85; concert only – NIS 60; for information, call *2884 or 02-6265333

On Sunday: Choice Christmas-related events in Haifa

Michal Fattal