Spring time is festival time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
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Spring time is festival time in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv

From nighttime food tours and a rave party in the capital, to urban design and philosophy debates in the White City, anything goes in the month of May

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Agriculture and art merge for a two-day fair at the Tel Aviv Port, showcasing products from the Modiin area. (Courtesy Eldad Maestro)
Agriculture and art merge for a two-day fair at the Tel Aviv Port, showcasing products from the Modiin area. (Courtesy Eldad Maestro)

Spring is in the air and so is a flurry of festivals and events that should be marked on the calendar for the last two weeks of May.

The fun starts with a food and literature festival at The Banquet at Jerusalem’s Mishkenot Sha’ananim from May 16-19. Here, you can take a nighttime culinary tour in the steps of Israeli Nobel Prize laureate S.Y. Agnon, feast on Greek treats while discussing love with local fiction writers, hear chef Eyal Shani and musician Asaf Roth debate the poetics of food and recipes, or listen to author Meir Shalev and chef Haim Cohen discuss food motifs in Shalev’s books. There are also events for kids, musical performances and other activities.

For more information, visit the Mishkenot Sha’ananim website.

Video art by Shahar Marcus and food photography by Merav Hyman will be part of the discussions about food and literature at The Banquet at Mishkenot Sha'ananim on May 16-19 (Courtesy The Banquet)
Video art by Shahar Marcus and food photography by Merav Hyman will be part of the discussions about food and literature at The Banquet at Mishkenot Sha’ananim on May 16-19 (Courtesy The Banquet)

From May 18-20, there’s Open House Tel Aviv, or Batim Mibifnim, an urban festival of architecture and design — now in it’s 11th year — showcasing the city’s chic urban style. This year is a celebration of the communities that live and work in Tel Aviv’s refurbished urban structures.

As part of the event, locals and out-of-towners alike can visit: The Platform near the old central bus station, a center for up and coming entrepreneurs whose ventures address urban challenges; the City Tree urban ecology center at Bialik Square; Kuchinate, a hub for artists and designers, many of whom are women and refugees for Africa; Community Roofs, an endeavor to reclaim roofs for the needs of urban life; and Vanishing Synagogues, which will tour some of the city’s underused spiritual spaces that could be reconfigured for modern, contemporary Jewish cultural use.

You can find the schedule of Open House Tel Aviv online.

Take a peek at posh private homes and architecturally challenging urban spaces in Open House Tel Aviv 2017 (Courtesy Open House Tel Aviv)
Visitors can take a peak into private homes as part of Open House Tel Aviv 2017. (Courtesy Open House Tel Aviv)

Back in Jerusalem, check out Catamona Rave. The one-night party takes place on May 25 at 9 p.m. at Beit Alliance, and includes the premiere of Nania, a new piece by c.a.t.a.m.o.n Dance Group choreographer Elad Shechter, followed by the performance of “Tech It Away,” another recent Shechter piece. A techno dance party will follow the performances for dancers and audience members alike.

Tickets are NIS 50 ahead of the show, and NIS 60 on the night of the event.

'Tech It Away,' one of the new Catamon Dance pieces premiering next week (Courtesy Avi Gorlin)
‘Tech It Away,’ one of the new c.a.t.a.m.o.n Dance Group pieces premiering next week (Courtesy Avi Gorlin)

On May 25, starting at 8 p.m. and going into the wee hours, join philosophers from France, Germany, Poland and Israel at a Night of Philosophy to discuss, debate and screen films pondering human existence, values and language. The free event is sponsored by the French Embassy and will be held at several locations throughout Tel Aviv, including Beit Alma and the Nachum Gutman Museum.

More information available online at the French Institute.

Just ahead of the holiday of Shavuot, farmers, vintners and cheesemakers from the Modiin region will bring their crops, goods and crafts to the Tel Aviv port on May 18 and 19 at Hangar 2. And for more of a taste of what the Modiin area has to offer there is the annual Shavuot Festival in White, to be held from May 25 to June 3 in the wineries and dairy farms of the region.

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