At last, a solid week to catch up on life with a respite from nationally mandated barbecues, bonfires and days of commemoration.
Jerusalem Day is celebrated Wednesday, but till then here is a top five list of activities to make up for the lack of holidays.
1) The Jesse White Tumblers, an acrobatic group from inner Chicago, have performed on “America’s Got Talent,” countless National Basketball Association, National Football League and Major League Baseball games, and at the last two US presidential inaugurations, perhaps because President Obama lived in Chicago. Now they’re in Israel for a fast six-day visit around the country as part of their ongoing friendship with Chicago’s Jewish community. The team, part of a delinquency prevention program, was started in 1959 by Jesse White, Illinois’s secretary of state and a former gymnast who set the team’s rules, which still include staying in school, maintaining a “C” average and staying away from gangs and drugs in the inner city neighborhoods in which the Tumblers live. The Tumblers will perform at Jerusalem’s Mamilla Mall at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 3.
2) There are festivals galore this weekend around the country. There’s Eilat’s Annual Chamber Music Festival, which began Sunday and continues through the weekend, celebrating musical ensembles from all over the world and featuring study sessions for music students given by visiting musicians. The festival is also touting special guest star actor John Malkovich, who reprised his performance in “The Infernal Comedy” in Tel Aviv on Tuesday and will be performing it in Eilat at the festival on Thursday. Tickets are still available online for Jacob’s Ladder, the ultimate in folk festivals that is held annually at Nof Ginnosar on the Kinneret, beginning Thursday. The tickets for the three-day music fest include free camping, entrance to all musical events and workshops, and as usual, the nearly 30 performers include local and international musicians. Finally, within driving distance for many is the Tel Aviv Cinematheque’s annual Docaviv, a festival celebrating international documentary films, running from Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 11. Most of the events and films are written up in English as well as Hebrew on the Docaviv site; make note of the free events, including free music documentaries and DJ parties at the Tel Aviv Port and a free, open-air screening of the 2013 Oscar-winning “Search for Sugar Man” at the Habima Square on Thursday, May 9, 8:30 p.m.
3) Peek behind the fabulous facades with Batim Mibifnim, or Houses from Within in Tel Aviv, which offers visitors an inside look at some of the fabulously restored, preserved and decorated homes and buildings around the city. It’s possible that the best part of the event is the recently added Guerrilla Lighting tours, events aimed at conveying the power of lighting and its effect. Take a tour of the guerrilla-lit sites on Thursday, May 2 at 8:30 p.m., in and around Bialik Square, and on Saturday night, May 4, around Dizengoff Square. For more information, head to the Batim Mibifnim site for a full map and more information.
4) Looking for a marathon? Try Beersheba’s 5k or 10k Glow Run this Thursday night, one of the latest trends in the running world scene that utilizes the cover of darkness to better appreciate shiny running duds, glow-in-the-dark accessories, reflective signs and routes painted in neon shades. The 5k begins at 8 p.m. and the 10k at 8:20 p.m., and runners get glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark glasses and are splattered with glow-in-the-dark-paint. Not in the mood to run? Just don something that glows in the dark and join the citywide party that will take place after the run.
5) See history being made as Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem, a fan-owned, local soccer team takes on its Lod rivals in Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium. If Katamon wins, the team may just become the first of its kind to be promoted to the country’s professional league. The team was formed six years ago when disgruntled fans, tired of supporting local teams that were regularly mismanaged by various wealthy businessmen, decided to form their own team. It’s become a unique example of great sport supported by passionate, eager fans, adults and children alike. This historic game will be played Friday, 3:30 p.m., at Teddy Stadium. Tickets cost NIS 40 for adults, NIS 20 for soldiers/teens and kids under 10 are free. Please arrive early to avoid lines at the box office.