Hanukkah is a festival celebrated by the Jewish people around the world, it is dedicated to the win of the rebellion against the Greek nation, and reclaiming the land of Israel into Jewish hands. But the real miracle was having reinstated the lighting of the menorah in the Temple. After a little history lesson, and understanding a little bit about the holiday, take a look at our guide to what to do or see during this holiday around Israel.
The Temple Institute
The Temple Institute is a cultural organization that has brought history back to life. The institute has built replicas of the vessels that were served by the high priests of Jerusalem during the time of the second Temple. Not only can you inspect the vessels, you have an opportunity to learn about the history of Jewish civilization from over 2000 years ago.
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Walk through Ancient Modi’in
Ancient Modi’in was the place of origin of the Jewish Hasmonean dynasty that ruled Judea in the 1st and 2nd centuries BCE, and it is where the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Greeks started. Modi’in is the birthplace of Mattias, the founder of the Hasmonean dynasty and the father of Judah Maccabi who had lead the rebellion against the Greeks. The location of the ancient city is called Khirbet Umm al-Umdan, discovered in a salvage dig in 2001, but only now opened to the public, in a neighborhood of modern Modi’in. When there, get a feel of history between your fingers and learn a little more about Jewish history as well. Make your way to Reuven Street in Modi’in and then follow a footpath to the site.
The Ein Yael Museum
The Ein Yael museum is a very different type of museum then your regular state-of-the-art, hi-tech, historical building type. Ein Yael is a hands-on museum, in the heart of nature, built as a replica of a historic village from the time of the Second Temple, located on a mountainside in the outskirts of Jerusalem.
The Bible Lands Museum
The Bible Lands Museum is located right across the street to the Israel Museum, the host of the Dead Sea scrolls and some really cool history about the Jewish people. The Bible Lands Museum is about history as well, but focuses on the aspect of the history of the Land of Israel. The museum is interactive and the exhibitions have a contemporary feel. On Hanukkah though, the museum transforms into a spectacle for eight magical days. There are special exhibits, art workshops and theatrical tours of the museum, which makes for an exciting and entertaining holiday activity.
The Machane Yehuda Market
Traveling to any market around Israel is always a treat, but if you are going to be around the history of the Hasmonean dynasty, you are going to end up eating in Jerusalem. The main marketplace in the city is the Machane Yehuda Market. At the marketplace, you can find all of the flavors of Hanukkah, whether it’s the traditional sufganiya (jelly doughnut) or a more ethnic spin on the fried delicacy called the sfenj. The aromas of the holiday will have you tasting some really cool things in no time. If you want to read more about Machane Yehuda Market: The New Face of Jerusalem: Machane Yehuda Market.
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