For five years, the Jerusalem Season of culture has been ushering in an assortment of creative events emanating straight from Jerusalem.
This summers program is expected to build on the very complex, and uniquely artistic and cultural backdrop of Jerusalem in all its complexity ad color. A number of fantastic events are schedule throughout the summer and Breaking Bread Journeys highly recommends that if you want to truly taste Jerusalem in all its glory, make sure to participate in one of these upcoming events.
In-House Festival: July 27-31
The In-House Festival will explore the meaning of “home” in public spaces. In the project HaKol Galui, for example, we will invite participants (in collaboration with the architectural department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design) to a fascinating sound work among the abandoned homes of the Lifta village where Palestinians lived before being replaced by immigrants from Yemen and Kurdistan. Today the area is mainly frequented by ultra-orthodox men who come to swim in the natural springs, homeless people who are looking for a broken roof over their heads, and property sharks. Renana Raz will re-examine the hearing concerning a complaint against the teacher Adam Verete that was posted on Facebook by one of his students. This pivotal event, which raised questions about the limits of democracy, the status of the educator and whether or not freedom of speech really exists, is treated to some fascinating and extraordinary artistic therapy which will take place in The Israeli Democracy Institute.
Contact Point: August 6 (We love this!)
A magical night of art and people at the Israel Museum will bring dozens of artists together to present a number of contact points produced especially for the 50th jubilee year, including the “The Exhibition of Exhibitions that Never Were” in which we will reveal the exhibitions that were not staged for a variety of different reasons, and “Catalogues,” in which the catalogues that have been issued by the museum over the last 50 years will be used to make new works.
Knock Knock: August 9-13
Night. A standard hotel room in the center of Jerusalem. You approach the reception desk, check in and receive your key. This is the first step in a unique theatrical experience that will bring the audience together with actors, musicians, chefs, chambermaids, dancers, broadcasters and directors who will create intimate, surprising and very special experiences. Feel free to let go, lose yourself, go wild, hide away, or immerse yourself in thought.
Frontline: August 16-20
Back for the third time Frontline presents Jerusalem’s independent music scene. Among other things, there will be an abstract concert by brilliant electronic artist, Gilbert, playing a vintage keyboard or Marki Funk’s psychedelic groove project
Under the Mountain: August 23-28
The Under the Mountain Festival of New Public Art will focus on history’s biggest and most important stage—the Temple Mount. No doubt this artistic expression with some 20 artists will be newsworthy.
The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival August 30-September 4
In its 4 th year, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival will brings together musicians from all religions from around the world for collaborative and engaging performances
The extended, week-long festival will unfold in five locations and include 25 performances by a long and exciting list of musicians and artists from 16 countries: Jonny Greenwood (UK) and Shye Ben Tzur in an international debut that combines East and West in Rajasthan, Shuli Rand will perform songs recorded by the guru of secularity, Meir Ariel, Mark and Piris Eliyahu will lead the Maqam Ensemble, pianist Omri Mor will play with legendary Algerian drummer, Karim Ziad, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (Iran) and Zohar Fresco (Israel) will drum together on the same stage, Itamar Doari will appear in an exclusive performance with the best of Spain’s Flamenco, and Max Romeo, one of the founding fathers of reggae, will light up Zion.
For additional information:
Tamar Gur: 052-3024949 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Weiss: 054-5377130 email@example.com
To purchase tickets:
So, the holidays are coming up and you’re thinking about how to plan your Holy Land tour. With so many choices of things to do and places to see – organizing your Holy Land tour might seem overwhelming – particularly if you are visiting over the Passover and Easter holidays. No worries. Breaking Bread Journeys has put together our Top 10 list of Must See experiences!
Breaking Bread Journeys recommends the following Top 10 Must Do experiences over the upcoming holidays below. Read thru and start planning your visit today. (not in any particular order)
1. Join the Palm Sunday and/or Good Friday Processions
Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected the Palm Sunday and Good Friday processionals.
The Palm Sunday procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering through the St. Stephen’s Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne. The procession is on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
The Good Friday procession (Via Crucis) is at 11:30 a.m on April 5, 2015.
Led by the Franciscan Friars and the procession begins at the First Station of the Cross in the Old City and follows the path that Jesus took on the day of his death, known as the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. According to Father Juan Solana, the local representative of the Holy See,”Being a part of this very special procession and a unique experience for any Christian.”
2. Participate in a Passover Seder
Over the last several years more Christians are seeking to understand the roots of Christianity and one of the best ways to delve deeper is to study the Torah and celebrate a Passover seder. Unlike Easter which is celebrated by attending mass, the Passover Seder is a true family celebration. If you have an opportunity to attend a seder grab it. It is a wonderfully meaningful experience.
3. Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday or on Easter Sunday
Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday. This shrine is where the last five Stations of the Cross are located. No Easter in the Holy Land is complete without exploring this historic shrine. The Good Fridan services: 8.00 a.m. – Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Calvary. The doors will remain opened.4.00 p.m. – The Liturgy of the Hours. 8.10 p.m. – “Funeral” Procession.
On Easter Sunday the services are as follows
7:30 a.m. – Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch
8:00 a.m. – Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda
5:00 p.m. – Daily Procession
4. Tour Mt. Zion
If authenticity is what you are seeking than make sure to visit the Upper Room located at Mount Zion and read about the resurrection in the Gospels while you are there. Jesus’s appearance to the Apostles occurred in the Upper Room.
The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm. On Holy Thursday, April 2 – at 3:30 p.m. there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James.
5. Attend “Resurrection Sunday” at the Garden Tomb
Easter Sunday also referred to as “Resurrection Sunday”, is a special day at the Garden Tomb and services are held at April 5 at 6:30 am and 9:30 in English, Scandanavian at 11 and Korean at 12. Moreover the Garden Tomb also holds its annual Arabic Easter event which coincides with Orthodox Easter and which brings together 500 to 600 Arab and Israeli believers. Seeing both Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer makes this an even more spiritually significant event. This event is scheduled for April 11 in the afternoon. Call 02-539-8100 for details.
6. Wake up early and attend Holy Fire Ceremony
The highlight of Orthodox Easter is the the Holy Fire Ceremony that only happens in Jerusalem, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the Sunday after Passover.
On April 11 Orthodox Christians gather very early in the morning and will squeeze into the Church of the Sepulchre for the annual Holy Fire Ceremony.
7. Attend the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall
The very special priestly blessing that is said during the Passover holiday take place on the third day of Passover, April 6, 2015. Known as the Bircat Cohanim, the blessing is recited twice at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, first at 9 am during the morning service and again at 10 am during the Musaf service.
You will hear the leader of the service reciting the blessing over the loudspeaker in order that everyone can follow and recite the blessing in unison.
8. Enjoy Free entrance to the Israel Museum on April 10, 2015
Israel Museum celebrates the Passover holiday with free entrance on Friday April 10 only, from 10 am to 2 pm. Moreover, in celebration of its 50th year, a fantastic new new exhibit just opened, “6 Artists / 6 Projects.” Special note: Bank Hapoalim often sponsors free entrances to a number of museums all over the country during the intermediate days of Passover, April 5 – 9, 2015. Make sure to check Bank Hapoalim’s website as the holiday approaches to see what entrances they will be hosting.
9. Dead Sea Music Festival – April 5 – 9, 2015
If you love music, the Dead Sea Music Festival is the festival for you. For the 19th year, Israelis and tourists from abroad will descend to the Dead Sea for this highly anticipated rock music festival where they will enjoy performances by top Israeli artists. Tip: Make sure to catch one of the famous Masada sunrise performances. (usually David Broza performs and if so, don’t miss it).
10. 8th Annual Stone in the Galilee Sculpting Symposium – Maalot-Tarshiha, April 5 – 8, 2015
This international stone sculpting festival is now in its 20th year and brings together many international artists as well as Israel’s most prominent sculptors creating art for public spaces. The festival includes dialogues as well as an indoor exhibition. Call 04-9578888
Since Israel is located in the Northern Hemisphere, it experiences winter from December until March. Winter is a beautiful season in the Holy Land, especially because of its flowers. Below is a list of the top 10 hikes throughout the Holy Land that highlight the beautiful winter flowers.
1. Scarlet South Festival, Southern Israel (Negev) Region
Every weekend (Friday and Saturday) in February, you have the opportunity to attend this festival where you will see the desert blooming. Not only will you see green in the desert, you will see beautiful red anemones. At this festival there will be free tours, information stations, and a walk through the anemones.
Click HERE for more information!
2. Lupine Hill, Central/Jerusalem Region
Lupine Hill is located near the city of Beit Shemesh, and is where the biblical story of the battle between David and Goliath took place. Based on its name, this hill is covered with purple lupines.
Click HERE for directions and additional details!
3. Sataf, Jerusalem Region
Sataf has impressive agricultural remains from the Copper Age and Byzantine Period. It also was a Palestinian/Arab village that was depopulated in the war of 1948. This land is now has a marked trail with reconstruction of the ancient terraces with olives, grapevines and fruit trees. Towards the end of winter, flowers bloom from the fruit trees.
Click HERE for more information!
4. The Valley of Narcissus’, Tel Aviv Region
North of Tel Aviv, in an area called Gililot, there is a beautiful valley filled with….take a guess…narcissuses! Daffodils also make an appearance in this valley.
Click HERE for more information!
5. Carmel Scenic Route, Northern Region
In Hebrew, this route is called “Derech Nof Carmel,” and can be hiked, biked, or driven. This route will take you through valleys, orchards, and pine trees and is around 15.5 miles (25 kilometers).
Click HERE for directions and more information!
6. Mount Gilboa, Northern Region
In addition to historical sites and viewpoints, while hiking the trails on Mount Gilboa, you will notice the ground covered in wild flowers, including the purple Gilboa iris.
Click HERE for more information!
7. Meitar & Yatir Forests, Southern Region
These forests are located near the Dead Sea, and are situated between Hebron and Be’er Sheva. They were strategically placed close to the political border of Israel and Palestinian territories. In these forests you can see special eucalyptus trees, such as Coral Gum, which has big red flowers. Additionally, at certain viewpoints, you can see the beautiful hills of Hebron.
Click HERE for more information!
8. Cyclamen Hills, Central & Northern Regions
Cyclamen, “rakefet” in Hebrew are one of the popular winter flowers in Israel. The variety of color can be located in multiple areas in Israel including: Tal Shahar, Gilad, Alonei Yitzhak, and Karmei Yosef.
Click HERE to read a recent article about these areas!
9. Adullam-France Park, Jerusalem Region
Throughout this park’s trails, there are open meadows filled with beautiful wildflowers. In this region you will notice that from all the terraces, this land is perfect for agricultural cultivation. It is important to note that this park is now located where the Palestinian villages of both ‘Ajjur and Kudna once were located.
Click HERE for more information!
10. Nahal Prat/Wadi Kelt, Jericho Region
This trail is located in the desert between Jericho and Jerusalem. It has breathtaking views of the open hills.
Click HERE for more information (and about other great hikes in the West Bank)!
Know of other great places to hike in the region during the winter? Let us know in the comments below! Happy hiking!
The countdown until Christmas Day has already begun. Decorations are up; for both Christmas and the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. In Bethlehem, the Christmas tree in front of Church of Nativity has been lit. If you will be on a Holy Land tour in these next few weeks, here are some events you will want to check out:
Bethlehem: The city where Jesus was born
> Breaking Bread Journeys Christmas Market tour (Dec. 19): Join us
to experience Bethlehem like a local and enjoy the special Christmas festivities. Our expert guide will take you behind the scenes, through the market alleyways and into the city’s many important sites as well as into the home of a local Palestinian Christian family where you will break bread and enjoy a traditional home cooked lunch and warm hospitality. Click HERE for more information!
> Christmas Festival (Nov. 23- Jan 9): Located in different locations throughout Bethlehem, artists will be singing at different places in Bethlehem. Below is the schedule, click on the schedule to enlarge it [I apologize for the blurriness, the original on the website is also blurry].
> Midnight Mass (Dec. 24): Since entering the Church of Nativity is impossible without tickets, thousands of people gather together in Manger Square, which is in front of the Church. There will be performances in addition to the Midnight Mass being shown on big screens.
According to Christian locals, Bethlehem is the best place to visit.
Nazareth: The city where Jesus spent his childhood
> Christmas Festival (Dec. 17- 21): Every year Nazareth has a festival where its main market is filled with decorations, lights, and street performances.
Jerusalem: The city where Jesus was crucified
> YMCA Christmas celebrations: The Jerusalem International YMCA will be having a few events prior to Christmas. Below is the schedule and since some require tickets, you can contact the YMCA at 02-5692684.
There will also be celebrations in the centers of both Jaffa and Haifa. There are large Christian populations in both of these cities.
If you are in a city in Israel that do not have a large Christian population, you will notice that there are many decorations in preperation for the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. Street lamps have festive blue and gold lights and many cafes sell elaborate jelly-filled dougnuts.
No matter which holiday you celebrate (or even if you do not celebrate a holiday), the Holy Land is place filled with holiday spirit! To those celebrating, happy holidays!
This small Holy Land is filled with cultural events! In one week I attended a film festival in Ramallah and a jazz music festival in Jersualem; and next week there is a film festival in Jerusalem. No matter when you come to tour the Holy Land, there will be numerous cultural events simultanously happening.
“Ramallah Animated,” the film festival I recently attended, had five days of screenings of Animation films from Palestine, Arab and International films. The film I saw, for 15 NIS (less than $5), was called “The Wanted 18” and was award winning for the best Arabic documentary in AbuDhabi International Film Festival 2014. This film was a creative way for me to learn about a specific story that took place during the first Intifada (Palestinian uprising).
It’s 1987, and the first Palestinian popular movement in the West Bank is rising. Residents want local alternatives to Israeli goods, including milk, which they’ve been buying from an Israeli company. And so begins the strange story of the 18 cows.
The plot is hatched by pacifist intellectuals and professionals. Not your typical dairy farmers. These “lactivists” forge ahead anyway, buying 18 cows and smuggling them into the West Bank town of Beit Sahour.
But who knows anything about cows? These newly min ted farmers have to learn the most basic skills—even how to milk their charges, which isn’t as easy as it looks.
Eventually, the cows come to the attention of Israeli authorities, and the chase is on—a cat-and-mouse (or soldier-and-cow) game writ large, as the cows shuttle from barn to barn, with their pursuers determined to find them. The cows became legendary and the “intifada milk” (sometimes distributed under cover of darkness) becomes a part of daily life.
Click HERE to learn more about this film.
To find out about these culture events prior to your journey to the Holy Land, simply ask locals! This can be done in different online forums.
To learn more about these forums, check out THIS previous post.
On Tuesday, Oct. 28, thousands of Israelis will be coming together at 8:00pm. Not for a political event, or a concert. It is for the non-stop city of Tel Aviv’s Night Run. The urban 10K course goes through the main streets and attractions of the city. The course includes:
Rabin Square: This is named after Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, who was assassinated in this square in 1995. It is the location for numerous political rallies, parades, and other public events, including the Tel Aviv Night Run!
IMPORTANT NOTE: No, Rabin did not ironically get assassinated at a Square named for him. Prior to his assassination, it was known as the Kings of Israel Square.
Ibn Gabirol Street: This is a popular street filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It is named after a medieval Hebrew poet and Jewish philosopher. His writings are included in versions of today’s Jewish prayer book.
Rothschild Boulevard: This street is easily identifiable because of the wide, tree-lined pedestrian and bike lanes placed in the center of the road. Independence Hall (where Israel’s Declaration of Independence was signed) is located here.
The Orchestra Plaza: This plaza is where several cultural institutions are located including a theatre and pavilion for contemporary art. The idea to have this central location for culture was proposed in the 1920s and was complete in 1945. This is also known as Habima Square.
Dizengoff: This street is named after the first mayor of Tel Aviv, Meir Dizengoff. Located on this street is the popular Dizengoff Center mall.
Hayarkon Park: This urban park is the central place for outdoor concerts and includes spacious lawns, sports facilities, gardens, and a water park! It has been recorded that annually, this park has on average 16 million visitors.
Information about registration for the Night Run Tel Aviv can be found HERE.
Additionally, there are runners who want to participate in a running event that is not commercialized. Therefore, on Thursday, Oct. 30, there will be an open night run event. Below is the background for why this event is happening and more information can be found HERE.
Note: Most of the information on the websites are in Hebrew. No worries, though, just copy and paste the text you want translated into translate.google.com
You might be wondering what Sukkot is and how can it possibly make sense to say “Celebrating Sukkot in Sukkot.” This post will clear up that confusion.
Currently throughout the Holy Land and world, Jews are celebrating the holiday of Sukkot. Sukkot is an easily identifiable holiday because it is the holiday when Jews are commanded to live in temporary outdoor booths. A single booth is called a sukkah, and multiple booths are called sukkot, hence the name of the holiday. [Note: for the rest of this post “sukkot” refers to booths and “Sukkot” refers to the name of the holiday.]
This holiday lasts for a week and is one of the three pilgrimage festivals. During a pilgrimage festival, biblical Israelites would make their pilgrimage with their fresh crops to sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem.
The purpose of building and essentially living in a sukkah for the week is to remember that biblical Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt. While they wandered they, too, lived in temporary booths. Additionally, since a sukkah is a basic structure, this holiday is an opportunity to reflect on what in your life is superficial. It is a time to differentiate between your “wants” and “needs.”It is amazing to be on a Holy Land tour during Sukkot. Specifically in Jerusalem you will see sukkot wherever you go. Some are on balconies and others are on the sidewalk. Most restaurants build sukkot for their customers to eat in. It is a social holiday where neighbors and even strangers interact with each other.
There are many Jewish Laws regarding the structure of a sukkah. A fun, interactive way to learn about these laws is at the life-size sukkah exhibit Neot Kedumim park. This exhibit is great for adults and children and is located halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Throughout the Neot Kedumim park there are dozens of examples of correct and incorrect sukkot accompanied with a sign containing the Jewish Law.
Additionally, there are many events and festivals happening throughout the Holy Land during Sukkot. Click HERE to see a compiled list.
This Friday evening, both Jews and Muslims will be welcoming important holidays. Jews will begin Yom Kippur, and Muslims will start Eid al-Adha.
Eid al-Adha is translated to “Feast of the Sacrifice” and directly correlates to the biblical story of Abraham sacrificing a nearby sheep, instead of his son, Ishmael. This is a major holiday and Muslim families celebrate that they do not need to sacrifice their first born son in order to show their devotion to God. It is traditional to sacrifice a sheep, goat, or a camel and then share it amongst family, friends, and people who are poor. This holiday lasts at least 3 days, although certain cultures have the holiday last longer.
Similar to other holidays in Islam, Muslims celebrate by eating a big meal with their family and then everyone goes from house-to-house drinking coffee and eating sweets–like cookies with dates and nuts.
Therefore, if you are in the Holy Land and are looking somewhere to go to celebrate Eid al-Adha, look for a nearby Mosque. Once the sun sets it is easy to spot Mosques because of the green light near the top of it.
Additionally, if you will be in Jerusalem not celebrating either the Eid or Yom Kippur, there will be a group of like-minded people hanging out. Click HERE to find out details of the event. I found out about this get-together from the Facebook group Secret Al Quds- East Jerusalem. To learn more about these usual Facebook groups, check out THIS previous blog post.
For all who are celebrating Yom Kippur–gamer chatima tova, May you be inscribed in the Book of Life; and for all who are celebrating Eid al-Adha–Eid Mubarak, Happy holidays!
In the midst of the fall holiday season that includes Jewish high holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur followed by Sukkot and the Muslim holiday of Eid – the site of blossoming trees throughout the Holy Land can’t help but remind us that the fall harvesting season is fast approaching. During the month of October, Palestinians and Israelis alike will begin harvesting their fields. The Holy Land is the home for some of the oldest olive trees, which are about 4,000 years old. For Palestinians, the olive tree is important for economic and symbolic reasons. The olive tree parallels to the Palestinian connection to their land. Olive trees are drought-resistant and can grow in poor soil conditions. Similarly, Palestinians are resilient and continue to survive and resist for their independence.
This is a popular time for people with different backgrounds coming together to harvest the olive trees. From my experience, some Palestinians are not allowed to harvest their olive tree fields because of the Israeli army or Jewish settlers. To assist these Palestinian farmers, internationals play an important role. There are dozens of organized opportunities to experience the olive harvest.
Since the olive harvest is approaching, an art exhibit focusing on olive trees recently opened and will be on display until December 13, 2014. The exhibit is located in the primarily Israeli Arab city of Umm el-Fahem and is called “The Benevolent Tree.”
The gallery is three stories with multiple rooms. According to the gallery’s description, the exhibition “is an attempt by 78 Israeli and Palestinian artists, to reinvigorate the broader discussion on the essence, importance and symbolism of the olive tree.” Continuing, the description says, “the sanctity of the olive tree has become intertwined with the sanctity of the land, to form a single entity symbolizing the difficult arguments and bloody conflict that have been going on for years on end.”
For more information about the Umm el-Fahem Art Gallery click HERE.
This Wednesday evening (Sept. 24), Jews in the Holy Land and the Diaspora will be entering into the Jewish New Year, 5775. How is it that the Jewish calendar is starting year 5775, but based on the the Gregorian (aka Western) calendar, it is 2014?
The Jewish Calendar starts from the creation of Adam and Eve, which was estimated to have happened just about 5,775 years ago!
Rosh Hashanah, literally translated to “Head of the year,” is a happy and serious time for Jews. According to a prayer said during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, “On Rosh Hashanah [your fate] it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.” There are ten days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and those are the known as the “Days of Awe.”
In Judaism there is the belief that when you transgressed by hurting someone, God will not pardon your transgressions without you first apologizing the person you hurt. What’s fascinating is that apologizing one time is not enough. Two times is still not enough. However, after the third time, if that person you hurt still does not forgive you, God will pardon your error.
For Rosh Hashanah, there is a tradition of dipping apples into honey, in hopes for a sweet, new year. Also, the traditional Jewish bread, called challah, is made round, instead of braided. The roundness is supposed to signify the circle of life.
Additionally, a ram’s horn (called a shofar) is blown 200 times throughout Rosh Hashanah. There are different interpretations as to why it is a ram’s horn and why it is blown on Rosh Hashanah. One interpretation is that the sound is supposed to wake up our souls.
It is a special opportunity to be on a Holy Land tour during holy days, specifically the High Holy Days. In addition to seeing what was mentioned above, you may also see other traditions, such as people throwing bread crumbs in moving bodies of water, in order to “cast off” their sins (this custom is called tashlich, which literally means “cast off”).
I hope that this upcoming year, 5575, will be full of happiness, non-violent action, love, and yummy food.
L’shana tova u’metuka (Happy and sweet new year)!