No plagues here: 10 ways to celebrate Passover all week long
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No plagues here: 10 ways to celebrate Passover all week long

Beyond a new haggadah, we’ve got opera for young listeners, balloon sculpture and design inspiration

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

Had Gadya dominoes from the design team at Dov Abramson Studio, another kind of Passover inspiration (Courtesy Dov Abramson Studio)
Had Gadya dominoes from the design team at Dov Abramson Studio, another kind of Passover inspiration (Courtesy Dov Abramson Studio)

Passover is almost here and the weather is turning milder, which means it’s time to go and see what’s going on in our cultural climes.

From free days at museums to birding adventures and a northern sculpture festival, it’s a good opportunity to hit the road and have an adventure. And the best part is, there’s a lot that’s free or relatively inexpensive, so wrap up the matzah sandwiches and head on out.

1) If you’re going to be in Tel Aviv, check out the city’s public seders. A 16-year tradition, the various seders will host more than 3,000 participants, some for free, others for a nominal fee. Call 03-724-8682 for more information.

2) Once the seder is over, there are other options to explore in the Big Orange. The official beach season doesn’t open until April 27, when the lifeguards will return to their stations, but for now you can take a selfie in the giant frame recently erected on the Jaffa end of the boardwalk.

Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai and Jaffa historic site director Yaron Klein in the oversized picture frame recently erected on the Jaffa coastline (Courtesy Guy Yehieli)
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai and Jaffa historic site director Yaron Klein in the oversized picture frame recently erected on the Jaffa coastline (Courtesy Guy Yehieli)

3) Take a look at some groundbreaking industrial design at an exhibit of works created by Holon Institute of Technology students, who are displaying their designs of household tools, toys and more whimsical concepts at Tel Aviv’s Hatachana shopping complex, throughout Passover. Entrance is free.

A toy version of bumper cars made by Holon design student Sagi Shechter, and on display at Tel Aviv's Tachana (Courtesy Holon Institute of Technology)
A toy version of bumper cars made by Holon design student Sagi Shechter, on display at Tel Aviv’s Tachana (Courtesy Holon Institute of Technology)

4) On the other end of the cultural spectrum is the Israeli Opera’s mornings of kid-friendly opera on Wednesday, April 12, through Friday, April 14, with two showings (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) of Mozart’s “Surprise Box” on Wednesday, April 12; two performances (10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.) of “Cinderella” on Thursday, April 13, and a 9:30 a.m. performance of “The Magic Flute” on Friday, April 14. Tickets cost NIS 35 per person (including children), and can be ordered at 03-692-7777 or at the Israeli Opera website.

Introducing opera to kids with 'The Magic Flute' and the Israeli Opera (Courtesy Yossi Tzivker)
Introducing opera to kids with ‘The Magic Flute’ and the Israeli Opera (Courtesy Yossi Tzivker)

5) If you’re not much of an opera fan, check out the aptly named Exodus, a day of world music performances, dance, workshops and vegan food at Tel Aviv’s Abraham Hostel. Friday, April 14, 12:30 pm, NIS 70 per ticket.

6) Wanna get moving and work off some of that matzah? Try the local version of the Legion Run, a challenging experience for all ages, with races and obstacle courses in 200 tons of mud. Israel’s Legion Run will take place on Friday, April 14, along the beach in Kiryat Yam. Costs are NIS 220 per person for the longer 5-kilometer runs, NIS 200 per two-person family team, and up to NIS 270 for a five-member family team. See the Legion Run site for more information and registration.

Marcel Duchamp's 1917 artwork, 'The Fountain,' marks its 100th year, at museums worldwide (Courtesy Israel Museum)
Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 artwork, ‘The Fountain,’ marks its 100th year, at museums worldwide (Courtesy Israel Museum)

7) Before 35 Israeli museums and national sites offer free entry courtesy of Bank Hapoalim on April 12-16, head to the Israel Museum between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, April 9, to celebrate 100 years of Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” the urinal he presented as an artwork in 1917, forever changing what was considered modern art.

The Israel Museum is joining other museums around the world in marking the artist’s bold move, and only those who identify themselves as R. Mutt, the pseudonym Duchamp used back then, will be allowed to enter the museum without paying.

If you don’t make it on April 9, just know that 35 museums are open to the public for free from April 12-16, with a list available online.

Dutch balloon artist Guido Verhoef will return to Maalot to make another balloon creation, like his Spring 2016 'Dove of Freedom' (Courtesy Guido Verhoef)
Dutch balloon artist Guido Verhoef will return to Maalot to make another balloon creation, like his Spring 2016 ‘Dove of Freedom’ (Courtesy Guido Verhoef)

8) Go north for the Ma’alot Tarshiha sculpture festival, April 12-14, where sculptors from different countries are at work by the town’s Monfort Lake for this annual festival. Entrance to the lake to watch the artists and then see their works is free, although there are many other activities, including boating, ice skating, camping, horseback riding and tours of the town. Dutch balloon installation artist Guido Verhoef will be at the festival, making a fantastical creation out of 30,000 balloons.

Birder Amir Balaban handles a bulbul in front of a group of Sacred Festival participants at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)
Birder Amir Balaban handles a bulbul in front of a group of Sacred Festival participants at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory on Wednesday, September 14, 2016 (Jessica Steinberg/Times of Israel)

9) Need some nature? Head to the Jerusalem Bird Observatory behind the Knesset in Jerusalem, where nearly every day of Passover offers another birding activity. Visitors can watch and learn about ringing birds every morning at 8:30 a.m., for free. There’s a night safari on April 13, at 6 p.m., which is an opportunity to watch local, night animals on their nocturnal wanderings. And follow the Knesset trail on April 14 and 16 at 10 a.m., a free tour about birds, Jerusalem history and nature.

An array of Had Gadya-inspired objects for Passover (Courtesy Dov Abramson Studio)
An array of Had Gadya-inspired objects for Passover (Courtesy Dov Abramson Studio)

10) Finally, if you need some Passover inspiration, here are two options. Some Passover designs from the Dov Abramson Studio used the Had Gadya song as inspiration for T-shirts and onesies, Passover cups, coasters, a domino game and magnets. Available online at Marmelada, Jerusalem’s Hansen House and through the Dov Abramson Studio.

Ayeka's Rabbi Aryeh Ben David came out with his new haggadah this year, about asking oneself probing questions at the seder (Courtesy Ayeka)
Ayeka’s Rabbi Aryeh Ben David came out with his new haggadah this year, about asking oneself probing questions at the seder (Courtesy Ayeka)

If you need a little more than that, try the Ayeka Haggadah, “Hearing Your Own Voice,” by Aryeh Ben David, the rabbi who founded Ayeka, a Jerusalem-based center for soulful education. The goal, writes Ben David, is to encourage each person at the seder table to use the seder to figure out where they are in the development of their own life, the life of their family, and the life of the Jewish people.

With 40 questions posed by Rabbi Ben David, it’s certainly one way of putting oneself into the Israelites’ sandals. To purchase, email tal@ayeka.org.il to arrange a pick-up option.

Happy Passover.

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