Summer is finally here, and with it, year five of the Jerusalem Season of Culture.
This annual cultural season is spread out through six separate events this year, from July through September.
And it’s all in Jerusalem.
“We always want it to be about Jerusalem,” said Itay Mautner, the Season’s artistic director (who grew up in Jerusalem but now lives in Tel Aviv). “It’s unique, because Jerusalem is unique.”
And so, the season opens July 10 with Contact Point at the Israel Museum, a night of encounters with dozens of permanent and temporary installations, from drinks on top of Big Bambú to dancers crawling on the museum floor.
From there it’s on to the In-House Festival (July 21-24), four nights of music and art performed in people’s homes.
The performers, as to be expected, are “very Jerusalem performers,” said Mautner. And the audience, which generally doesn’t number more than a dozen or so, may sit on a performer’s bed or a bench in the hallway, added Mautner.
“There’s layers of history in Jerusalem, and this is a way to get connected to it,” said Mautner.
Be sure to make time for two different events within In-House: “Knock-Knock” will check participants into the Prima Royal Hotel, where each room will offer a different experience designed by more than 40 artists, filmmakers, actors, musicians, chefs and chambermaids.
“House” is part of an ongoing work by Swiss director and stage designer Dominic Huber, who invites audience members to put on headphones and peek into an apartment building situated deep within a south Jerusalem neighborhood.
From there, it’s onto “Frontline” (August 10-14), five days of a pop-up radio station at the Hansen Compound, hosting broadcasts, live concerts, DJ spins and artists’ chat.
The end of August (August 20-September 7) brings three weeks of culinary coexistence with “3876m: Between Knife and Fork. Two local chefs, Kamel Hashlamon and Assaf Granit (who hosted last summer’s FoodTrip), will bring their culinary expertise and dialogue to the crowds each evening at a different site, from Mount Zion, next to the site of Last Supper and King David’s Tomb to the village of Silwan to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Finally, it all ends with the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival (September 9-12), a four-day festival of more than 180 performers and 20 performances in mostly smaller venues, celebrating the music of all kinds of people and faiths.
“For four days, we’re trying to allow Jerusalem to be a prayer house for all nations,” said Mautner, quoting a famous Hebrew phrase.
There are a few standout events worth booking, including Andalusian musicians from Morocco singing liturgical music with Rabbi Chaim Louk; the Klezmatics; a mapping of every single prayer quorum meeting in Jerusalem throughout the four-day festival; and a rabbi and sheikh discussing the meaning of the muezzin.
And the best part? You have 31 days of events to choose from. Plenty of time to check out the season. Tickets available on the Jerusalem Season of Culture website.