Hannukah is one of the most beloved Jewish holidays, and with good reason. Usually overlapping with Christmas, the Jewish festival of light is a winter holiday that is all about rejoicing, getting together, lighting candles, Menorah, spinning dreidels and eating – what’s not to love?
During Hanukkah and in the weeks before, Israeli bakeries, restaurants and stores serve Hanukkah’s signature dish – Sufgayia. It’s essentially a fried doughnut, but instead of a hole in the middle, it is filled with strawberry jam, chocolate, dulce de leche, and countless other fillings. Every year, new pastry chefs around the country whip up unique recipes for the beloved doughnut, and Israelis go crazy to try all the different flavours. Opt for ShowRoom Bakehouse Hanukkah pop-up to try some of 2017’s most interesting creations!
Christmas in Nazareth
Hanukkah coincides with the internationally celebrated holiday season. Despite the fact that Christmas isn’t officially celebrated in Israel, Israelis are well aware of it and are eager to see and be a part of the winter holiday’s decorations and festivities. Nazareth, being one of the centres of the Christian population in Israel (and believed to be the hometown of Jesus), becomes a favourite destination for Jews to visit as well. The all-day annual Christmas Market runs between December 18-22 and is one of the best places to get Christmas decorations, food and crafts. If you’ll be spending Christmas in Tel Aviv and are looking for some holiday magic, go witness the annual lighting of the huge Christmas tree in Jaffa’ Clock Tower on December 17 at 6 pm.
Nightlight#4 Festival Neve Shaanan
Neve Shaana is an unusual southern Tel Aviv neighbourhood that accommodates immigrants from African and South Asian countries, and is known for its complex and diverse population. An interesting thing about this neighbourhood is that when Tel Aviv was founded, this area was designed to resemble a Menorah. This is why in the last four years, during Hanukkah, an arts festival takes place in Neve Shaanan. The buildings of the neighbourhood become canvases for artists to display digital installations, video art, and live performances. In addition, local food establishments join the festival to offer a multi-sensory cultural experience that’s definitely worth checking out. The festival will open on a Thursday evening, when the digital Menorah installed on the old power station on Hachashmal St will be officially lit up.
Another signature dish for Hanukkah are latkes. Usually made with potatoes, these are shallow-fried pancakes of grated or ground potato, flour and egg and served savoury with grated garlic or onions. Since latkes are usually based on a traditional family recipe, they can vary from family to family. Some families make them with zucchini or sweet potatoes, while others serve with sprinkled cinnamon and sugar. Every Hanukkah gathering will include Sufganiot, latkes, and Menorah lighting, but latkes will also be available in various delicatessens and restaurants across the country during the holiday.
The Festigal is an Israeli musical show for children held annually during Hanukkah school vacation, each year built around a different theme or story. Israeli children’s favourite celebrities, singers, and latest performance contest winners participate. In general, Hanukkah is a time of the year when the hottest Israeli celebrities, singers and dancers perform at a children’s musical or play, and when kids all over the country get excited to see their favourite celebrity. Almost every Israeli celebrity has taken part at a children’s Hanukkah show, including Bar Refaeli and Gal Gadot.