- Middle East
- Virág Gulyás
As a city on the perched on the crossroads of cultures and religions, Jerusalem has a special energy all its own. This August, the always vibrant city has woven a rich tapestry of art and culture events, ranging from culinary extravaganzas and music festivals to traditional art fairs and contemporary exhibitions. We’ve picked ten of the best events that showcase Israel in all its complexity this August.
Music | Ah, Jerusalem!
1, 8, 15, 22 August
Produced by Broadway/Hollywood producer-playwright Bernie Kukoff and Jerusalem composer-lyricist Danny Paller, Ah, Jerusalem! is the city’s newest attraction. Performed in the open-air theatre just beneath the Tower of David, which serves as the play’s main backdrop, this enchanting and modern show lacks any costumes, scenery and settings, making it a down-to-earth and refreshing cultural event. This English language time-travelling musical mixes romance, comedy and at the same time history, revealing the story of an American Jewish family, who, ending up in Jerusalem and guided by their special tour guide Shmulik, go through different centuries of the city in a dreamlike presence. The charming play quickly received warm international attention and became dear to tourists and locals alike; it’s even been called ‘the perfect activity in Jerusalem.’
Ah, Jerusalem! Trailer:
Art | International Arts and Crafts Festival
11 – 23 August
At the very heart of the city’s summer calendar is Jerusalem’s International Arts and Crafts Festival, held for the 39th time this year. The two-week long festival is nestled in the ancient Sultan’s Pool just beneath the Old City, guaranteeing an outstanding atmosphere. The Festival, usually referred to as Khutsot Hayotser, which translates as ‘The Creator Steps Out’, is the biggest artisan gathering of the year, featuring 200 Israeli and international artists from over 30 countries who represent a diversity of media, from painting, sculpture, ceramics, calligraphy, leatherwork, crafts and design. By displaying the greatest selection of arts and crafts, featuring international ethnic dishes and presenting Israel’s best pop musicians, this traditional annual event is a real feast for the eyes and ears alike.
Food | 3,876m: Between Fork and Knife
20 August – 7 September
This foodie festival, only in its first year, is named after the exact distance (3,876m) between the homes of the two leading figures of the event. Between Fork and Knife is the brainchild of Kamel Hashlamon, a renowned Arab chef in East Jerusalem, and Assaf Granit a likewise renowned Jewish chef in West Jerusalem. Both were born and raised in the same city and both treat gastronomy as a means of art. During the three week festival these two outstanding chefs set aim to engage in culinary dialogue, inspired by people, food, trends and history. Each night, at different venues, the chefs will produce brand new culinary specialities, and although, their intention is not to bridge any sort of gaps between themselves, cultures or ideologies, they do aim to demonstrate culinary coexistence in a peaceful manner
Music | Woodstock Revival VI
Although America’s iconic Woodstock Festival happened 45 years ago, it certainly left a hefty mark on the world’s musical memory and serves a cultural touchstone right up to the present day. This explains why Jerusalem has its very own Woodstock Festival, at which Israeli musicians reimagine the work of musical legends like Jimi Hendrix, Jefferson Airplane, Eric Clapton and many others from the 1960s & 70s. Woodstock Revival VI will not only revive the sounds of Woodstock days but also the laid-back ambience and add-on programmes, creating a mini Summer of Love in the city
Woodstock Revival VI, Kraft Stadium, Jerusalem, Israel, +972 03 6133556
Art | Contact Point
As the kick off event of the city’s summer festival series, the Jerusalem Season of Culture, Contact Point takes place at city’s art mecca, the Israel Museum. This is a tantalising one-time, one-night event, when visitor, artist and art come together across different disciplines. Organised for the fifth time, Contact Point awakens the Museum for a night and fills it with energy thanks to the rich selection of artistic encounters, including dance, music and visual art. Dozens of artists gather for the event,which features both permanent and temporary installations, and exciting highlights inside and outside the Museum.
Art | Big Bambú – 5,000 Arms to Hold You
Until 1 October
The Israel Museum’s Billy Rose Sculpture Garden hosts a special art installation throughout the summer. Big Bambú, a ground-breaking construction, was created by acclaimed American artists and identical twins Doug and Mike Starn, whose debut work in the Bambú series featured on The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Roof Garden in 2010, and became the ninth most attended exhibition in the Museum’s history, with 3,913 visitors per day. Marking the ninth work in the series, the Jerusalem project is expecting to be just as much of a crowd-pleaser; the sculpture reaches 17-metres at its highest points, consists of 10,000 bamboo poles and 80,000 metres of climbing rope. The installation was created in line with an engineering philosophy inspired by the flexibility and durability of the given space and its surroundings, making it a truly matchless piece of art. 7
Culture | Night Spectacular – Sound & Light at the Tower of David
Staged around the walls of the historical Citadel, the Night Spectacular at the Tower of David is a one-of-a-kind, must-see light and sound show. Free from words, purely relying on a sophisticated computer system and innovative techniques, the 45 minute long spectacle reveals the 4,000 year multifaceted history of Jerusalem. Stimulating music and breathtaking images fuse on the Citadel’s ancient walls, portraying the different people and eras as they come and go. This is a feast of sight and sound, hand-in-hand with a fascinating history tutorial set in what is possibly the most historical site in the world; it’s no wonder that the Night Spectacular is one of the most popular events in the city
The Night Spectacular:
By Virag Gulyas