Things to Do Around Israel During Hanukkah

Your guide to exhibits, tours and other attractions around Israel, December 23-29.

Watch a reenactment of the story of Hanukkah at the Festival of the Maccabees in the Jerusalem area.
Yishi Chasani

Night Light Festival

Celebrates Hanukkah with light installations and projections, music acts, food stalls, tours and public art displays. Sat 18.00-23.00. In the Neve Sha’anan neighborhood. Details: .       

Lights Market Festival

The city of Tel Aviv hosts Nazareth’s Christmas Market with music, street performances, food stalls and more. Tues-Thur 11.00-23.00. Between Ha’arba’a and Ha’hashmonaim streets

Festival in Modi’in

A scavenger hunt based on the story of Hanukkah. Tues at 09.00. Other activities include theater performances, creative workshops, a lantern tour of Ben Shemen Forest (Sun, Wed at 17.00), an archeological happening (in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority) at Tel Hadid in Ben Shemen Forest (Wed,Thur 10.00-13.30), and more. December 26-January 1. Details:

Happening at Nalaga’at

The cultural center for the blind and deaf, Nalaga’at Center, in Jaffa hosts a sign language workshop, a children’s show and a blind tasting of doughnuts. For the entire family. Thur 11.00-15.00. Nalaga’at Center, 6 Jaffa Port. Registration: (03) 633-0808

Man and the Living World Museum

Holiday-inspired workshops, for ages 6+. Mon-Wed 10.00-12.00; Exhibits for the entire family: “The Prehistoric Man – In the Footsteps of the Biped,” a journey through time, from the Big Bang through various human species until today; “Wild,” paintings of animals living in the wild by artist Ofir Buskila; “The Wild Animals of Nahum Gutman and Friends,” works inspired by Gutman’s illustrations depicting a playful alternative to hunting. Museum hours: Sat 10.00-17.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-14.00. National Park, Ramat Gan (03) 631-5010

Dinosaur Circus – A Journey Around the World

On stage with a pair of giant-sized dinosaur puppets, a team of international acrobats performs in this new circus show, combining juggling, theater and gymnastics. Thur 11.00, 15.00, 17.30, Heichal Hatarbut, Petah Tikva. Tickets: *8780,

The Museum for the Art of Puppetry

Offers a permanent collection of dozens of traditional and contemporary puppets and masks from Israel and abroad, as well as temporary and interactive exhibits. Wednesdays from 16.00-19.00. Israel Puppet Center, 13 Remez St., Holon. Details:

Beit Hatfutsot, Museum of the Jewish People

An exhibit for the whole family: “Heroes – Trailblazers of the Jewish People.” On key figures in Jewish culture, including scientists, intellectuals, leaders, revolutionaries, cultural figures, athletes and others. Includes activities and games. Fri 09.00-14.00; Sat 10.00-15.00; Sun-Wed 10.00-19.00; Thur 10.00-22.30. 2 Klausner St., Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv. Tickets:  


Maccabiah Torch Relay

The 20th Maccabiah torch launch, spearheading the upcoming Maccabiah Games (July 6, 2017), kicks off at a lighting ceremony (at 10.00) with Olympic bronze medal winner Ori Sasson carrying the torch to Jerusalem to present it to President Reuven Rivlin. Before starting its journey around the world, there will be a torch parade at the Tel Aviv Port (at 17.30), led by 2,000 members of the Young Maccabi youth movement. Mon at 10.00, Maccabees Tombs site, near Modi’in Forest (off Highway 443)

Israel Museum

Celebrates the holidays with art and shadow theater workshops (ages 3+), storytelling and the staging of excerpts from the international show “Aluminum,” combining theater, dance and humor, Tues-Thur 11.00, 12.30, 14.00. Activity hours: Mon-Thur 10.00-17.00

Neot Kedumim

Located in the homeland of the Hashmonaim, the park celebrates Hanukkah with “Back to the Hashmonaim,” an activity that includes tours and the reenactments of the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil. Includes a visit to a traditional olive press. At the Clay Cave on Menorah Hill, a potter will demonstrate how to create jugs, lamps and more. Activity hours: Tues-Thur 10.00, 12.00. Details: (08) 977-0770,  

Festival of the Maccabees

Taking place at the historic sites of the battles between the Maccabees and the Greeks, in the Binyamin and Modi’in regions, the public is invited to take on the roles of biblical characters, dress up in Maccabean costumes and reenact the story of Hanukkah (Wed, Thur 10.00-16.00, last entry at 14.30). Meet at Winery Hill. Other special activities include jewelry, candle, pottery and olive oil making workshops (Wed, Thur 10.00-16.00); a training camp with archery and ropes course (Wed, Thur 10.00-16.00, last entry at 14.00); daily guided tours of the region (route one includes the ancient synagogue in Modi’in, the Maccabean Graves, an observation point and Winery Hill 09.00, 10.00, 11.00; route two includes the ancient synagogue in Modi’in, Matat and Nili observation points, and Winery Hill 09.30, 10.30, 11.30). Festival hours: Wed, Thur 10.00-16.00 at both locations, Mateh Binyamin Regional Council and Hevel Modi’in Regional Council. Details:

Biblical Museum of Natural History

Showcasing mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects featured in the Hebrew Bible, the museum also functions as a zoo, natural history museum and Torah education center. Includes exhibitions of live animals, taxidermy specimens and biological artifacts. Visits to the museum are through a special guided tour, by appointment only. For the entire family. 5 Hatzaba St., Beit Shemesh. Reservations: or 073-213-1662

I Am Jerusalem

A multimedia show that takes visitors on a multi-sensory journey to experience the different layers of the Jerusalem of today, yesterday and tomorrow, as well as the city’s different sounds, sights, people and scents. Ages 5+. Fri 09.00-15.00; Sat (after Shabbat-23.00); Sun-Thur 09.00-22.00. At Mamilla Avenue shopping center. Tickets:  

Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (Biblical Zoo)

Hosts activities: an educational activity on solving riddles placed throughout the zoo that lead to the last eggs of the endangered cinereous vulture from Eurasia (Mon-Thur at all hours); a science workshop on animal genes, accompanied by live snakes, amphibians and insects (Mon-Wed at 13.00); a circus show (Thur at 13.30, 14.30); meet the zookeepers (Mon-Thur at 14.30). Regular offerings: Natural exhibits of over 500 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates from around the world. Includes a children’s zoo with a petting corner, animal feeding demonstrations, educational activities and the Noah’s Ark sculpture garden. Fri 09.00-16.30; Sat 10.00-19.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-19.00. Biblical Zoo, Aharon Shulov St. (02) 675-0111

Tower of David Museum

Holiday activities: Who Is a Hero? A special tour (accompanied by actors) on the heroes of the history of Jerusalem: King David, Judah Maccabee and Bar Kochba. Followed by a creative workshop. Ages 6-12. Mon-Thur 10.30-16.00; Hanukkah Is a Great Holiday Explore the alleyways of the Jewish Quarter while solving puzzles. Ages 6-12. Tues, Wed, Thur 16.30-19.30; and The Night Spectacular - A night show presenting the history of Jerusalem, with images projected onto the walls, bridges and hidden pathways of the ancient citadel. At Jaffa Gate. Tickets:

Monkey Park

Guided tours, workshops, feedings, rides, wall climbing and other activities. Fri and holiday eves 10.00-14.00; Sat-Thur 10.00-16.00. Ben Shemen Forest (near Kfar Daniel). (08) 928-5888,  


Florentine Circus

The circus group presents “Alien Circus,” a new show featuring glow-in-the-dark and water acrobatic stunts, fire juggling and more. For all ages. Sat 10.00, 12.30, 15.30; Mon, Wed 11.00, 15.00; Tues 15.00; Thur 15.00, 18.30. Hakfar Hayarok, Ramat Hasharon (off Hakfar Hayarok junction). Tickets: *3851,


Hanukkah at the Ein Gev Port

Kibbutz Ein Gev, known for its banana groves, hosts its Banana Festival for all the family. Includes a train ride around the banana trees and the kibbutz, a cruise on the Sea of Galilee for ages 3+ (Thur 14.00, 15.00), and wood workshops at Grandpa Yossi’s carpentry shop (Fri 10.30-15.00). Dec 22-Jan 1. Located on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Details:

Janco Dada Museum

Hosts Chagigada, made up of daily theater and music shows, pantomime, acrobatics, tours and workshops. For the entire family. Dec 27-31. Tues-Thur 10.00-15.00. In Ein Hod. (04) 984-2029,

Dinosaur Circus – A Journey Around the World (see Tel Aviv and Center) Mon 11.00, 15.45, 17.30, Hatzafon Theater. Tickets: *8780,

Winter Festival

The celebration of Hanukkah and Christmas in northern Israel. Includes culinary and craft workshops led by craftsmen, a goat pen tour at Moshav Ben Ami (Fri, Sat at 10.00), a tour of the alleys of Fassuta Village for Christmas (Fri at 10.00), a Hanukkah and Christmas dinner at Kibbutz Tuval (Fri at 19.00) and more. Dec 22-24. Details in English:

Holiday of Holidays Festival

Coinciding with the Hanukkah and Christmas holidays, this event is a celebration of the religious and cultural diversity of Haifa. It aims to cultivate and advance tolerance, harmony and mutual respect between Israel’s religions through culture and art. Festivities include concerts, exhibitions, an antique fair, children activities, movie screenings, theater and dance performances, lectures throughout the city. In Beit Hagefen, Wadi Nisnas and the German Colony neighborhoods, every weekend throughout December. Details and tickets:

Gan Guru

Special park tours and lantern-making workshops. Tues 16.30-18.00. Regular offerings: The park is home to wildlife including kangaroos and koalas, with Aboriginal face-painting and guided koala and bat feedings. Fri 09.00-15.00; Sat 09.00-17.00; Sun-Thur 09.00-16.00. Australia Park, Kibbutz Nir David (04) 648-8060,   


Mitzpe Ramon

The town hosts a soap-making workshop (12 Har Ardon St.); a milk farm tour, daily at 09.00  (call 054-686-4347); bike tours, call (08) 655-3350; and the Alpaca Farm of alpacas and llamas. For details and registration: (08) 658-8047. Dec 25-Jan 1. Details:

The Science of Hanukkah

Offers scientific fire and light activities led by the national tutorial program, PERACH, from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Sun 16.30-19.00, Havayeda, 48 Lachish Blvd., Kiryat Gat; Thur 10.00-14.00, Havayeda, 22 Rambam St., Yeruham. Details:

Dinosaur Circus – A Journey Around the World

(see Tel Aviv and Center) Sat 11.00, 15.00, 17.30, Kibbutz Givat Brenner; Sun at 17.30, Heichal Hatarbut, Ashkelon; Tues 11.00, 17.30, Performing Arts Center, Ashdod; Wed 11.00, 15.00, 17.30, Performing Arts Center, Be’er Sheva. Tickets: *8780,


The interactive experience children’s museum hosts Hanukkah-inspired activities with original games that activate the various senses, in addition to its regular exhibits. Fri 09.00-14.00; Sat, Mon-Thur 09.30-18.30; Sun 09.00-13.00. 25 David Hareuveni St., Be’er Sheva