Okay, it can no longer be avoided. Passover, that holiday of toil and trouble, and yes, spiritual enlightenment and family unity, is around the corner.
But once the seder is over — or before, for those who don’t have terribly onerous cleaning and cooking lists — we’ve assembled a list of what to do, where to go and what to buy, if you’re so inclined, during this slightly more than two-week period.
1) If you’re in Jerusalem, head downtown to see “Perspectives,” an exhibition of thirteen 3D artworks by local and international artists on the sidewalks of the city. Most of the artwork has already been completed, but the artists will be hanging around their creations, and artist Yonatan Gal is giving a master class at the Museum of Italian Jewish Art on April 25, 26, and 27, at 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Head to the Haira site to sign up and for a map of the sidewalk art, which will be available from April 24 through April 29.
Over at the Inbal Hotel, Jewish educational art organization Kol HaOt is hosting its annual Illuminated Haggadah fair on Monday, April 25, with an exhibit of historical haggadahs gathered from around the country, representing themes from the nation’s history. There will be lectures and demonstrations by contemporary artists from 8:30 p.m. as they debate whether freedom equals creativity. Entrance to the April 25 fair is free, where there will also be a large selection of different haggadahs for sale. More information is available at the Kol HaOt site.
2) How about a day in Tel Aviv that requires no standing on lines? That’s the purpose of the Sail Tel Aviv Jaffa Maritime Sports Festival, where all you have to do — unless you’re a skipper or surfer — is cop a squat next to the water (preferably at one of the outdoor cafes or bar where you can sink your toes into the sand with a plate of French fries by your side) and set your eyes on the sailboats, yachts and speedboats taking part in event.
The highlight of this ten-day festival is the large flotilla of pretty much every type of boat that will be sailing on Thursday, April 28 from the Tel Aviv Port at 11:30 a.m., heading across the coastline of Tel Aviv to the Jaffa Port and back again. There will also be a yacht sailing competition, a stand-up paddle-board competition at Gordon Beach, and a kayak competition at Hilton Beach, with an open water swimming race in the earlier part of the morning. For more information, go to the Atarim site, the Tel Aviv maritime organization running the event, for details about registration and participation.
3) If you’re looking for a museum day, consider one of the 40 museums and tourist sites open to the public for free during Passover, courtesy of Bank Hapoalim, which is doing this for the 12th year. From Sunday through Wednesday, all sites are open for the entire day. Thursday, April 28, is a half-day. Call *2410 for more information.
4) Head to Haifa this holiday, where the International Haifa Festival for Children’s Theater — with dozens of theater performances — is part of 200 events throughout the city on April 24 through April 26, with shows performed in Hebrew and Arabic in this city of Arabs and Jews. Among the local shows are those brought from Italy, Brazil, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Spain and Portugal.
Besides the free outdoor movies for kids and free entry to the Haifa Zoo, there’s something for the adults as well, like soul singer Karolina in the city’s Turkish Market and artists along its passageways. The full schedule is available on the Haifa Kids website.
Want to do something on the banks of the Sea of Galilee? Take some time in Tiberias for the Mediterranean Music Festival, another set of free events on April 26 and 27, as local singers such as Lior Narkis, Rotem Cohen, Eyal Golan, Sarit Haddad, Yishai Levy and Aviva Avidan will perform in the city’s Barko Park, on the southern outskirts of the city.
5) Back in the country’s center, a new exhibit, “Food Processor III” recently opened at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market. Curator Dalit Merhav calls this one “Food as a Method of Passing on a Message,” but whether or not you get the message, they’re photos that will certainly lead you to a meal in one of the nearby restaurants. ART Gallery, Sarona, 12 David Eliezer, Building 105, NIS 15 per ticket, closing May 2.
And while in Tel Aviv, take the kids to experience some modern dance with Batsheva’s Deca’le, a very family-friendly, hour-long performance, although not cheap at NIS 110 per ticket (NIS 20 discount per ticket for members of the Batsheva club). Sunday, April 24, 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., Monday, April 25, 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., Hangar 2, Jaffa port.
If you’re hanging around Jaffa, there’s an Instrument Festival in Old Jaffa from April 23 through 30 with exhibits, workshops and performances of modern and ancient instruments, appropriate for kids and adults. Go to the Jaffa Museum or Old Jaffa websites for more information, and note that there are combination tickets for the exhibit and workshops.
In the center of the city, the Bialik complex is offering five days of activities for Passover, with tours about the tales of Tel Aviv, a workshop to make Elijah’s cup and plays for children.
The plays range in topic and age-appropriateness; “Eliezer Ben Yehuda” is about wordsmith Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (for ages 6 and up), “Bialik A Living Flower” tells the tales of Hayim Nahman Bialik with songs and guitar play (ages 4 and up), “Bialik’s Book of Songs” is about the songs and words of the famed poet (ages 3 and up) and “See You in Antarctica” shows Tel Aviv at a different time through the lens of a photographer (ages 4 and up). Plays and other activities on April 20 and April 24-27, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Plays range from 30 to 50 minutes, but will be performed at 11:30 a.m. each day.