When I think of Chanukah I immediately think of family time. Cozy circles around the candles, chilly and dark outside, glowing and warm inside. Husbands and fathers come home early and we gather around with the whole family for eight festive days! Let us all maximize on all this special family time as much as we can With the only Mitzvos being Hallel and Menorah, it’s really up to us to make it our own. Here
are some wonderful ideas for you and your loved ones to help bond and keep busy, all in the Chanukah spirit.
Decorate Your Chanukah Table
Whether you are having grand Chanukah parties or not, it’s always fun to have themed decor around your house for the holiday. Israeli shops fill with an abundance of Chanukah goodies- plastic ware, food, toys and more. The streets are bedecked with light-up menorahs and dreidels, completing the winter wonderland look for our Jewish country. Decorating your table will fill your home with that same Yom Tov vibe!
You can create a simple Menorah decoration by placing eight similar items down the middle of your table, and one bigger in the center as the Shamesh. Try glass cups of pretty flower arrangements. Simply place four glass cups of flowers in a row, one larger glass, and four more small ones. You can buy one big bunch of flowers from the corner pop ups on erev Shabbos and split them up yourself. For a colorful look try using glasses filled with plastic dreidels or candy. We all know this country has an abundance of candy to choose from, in the shuk in grocery stores and nut shops. Dreidels are popular in shekel stores, Geula, and almost anywhere else, starting from Rosh Chodesh Kislev and on. For a simpler setup that provides a classy and clean look, try placing tea lights on top of eight medium sized Voss water bottles and one taller one. You can get them in Israel here – https://israel.desertcart.com/products/91724157-voss-sparkling-water-800-ml
You can try piling up stacks of doughnuts for people to eat, or any other original ideas you can come up with to create this special holiday aura.
Crafts for Kids
With a house full of kiddies, arts and crafts is always a hit. Keep your children busy and excited about Chanukah by creating your own projects. Make a DIY Menorah with children that are too young to light their own. Decorate clothes pins as candles or use Velcro to allow you to add and remove candles each night, and use the Shamesh to “light” the other candles. Stickers work great as flames. You can even have these candles stuck onto a paper crown for your child’s head! For kids that can light their own Menorah, let them personalize it! With some rhinestones and a tin Menorah, you’re bound to end up with a masterpiece. You can get everything mentioned here, plus many more DIY Chanukah crafts, at the shekel stores, located in Bar Ilan Shmuel Hanavi, Geula, Shefa, and their other branches scattered all
One of the best parts of sitting outside with your Chanuka lights is knowing that there are hot latkas waiting for you in the kitchen. They say that food connects people, and let’s face it- whether you’re having a major Chanukah party or just spending time with family at home, you’re going to need some yummy food. Get into the kitchen with your spouse or kids and get baking! Donuts, latkas, anything oily. You know the drill! Donut holes are an awesome way to make donuts without having to shape each one. Simply create small little balls of dough for frying. You can even use a delicious challah dough recipe if you let it rise long enough. Toss them in icing sugar, glaze, or make a buffet of toppings for everyone to choose from. Classic sugar cookies are an all-time favorite as well, making for some good childhood memories. Cut them out in the shapes of dreidels, Menorah, donuts, and other Chanukah items. Decorate raw cookies with sprinkles, cookie crumbs and chocolate coins, or baked cookies with frosting and then toppings of your choice.
Have a wonderful Chanukah with your family! We hope you enjoy these ideas and that they enhance your Yom Tov. Keep warm and keep busy, and keep creating memories.
Ah Freilichen Chanuka!
Chanukah is around the corner and we couldn’t be more excited! Every Ma’afe Neeman and Nechama’s is overflowing with delectable looking doughnuts. Grocery stores are having 4 for 1 sales on chocolate coins, and the cold rainy season is in full fledge, waiting to be lit up by the Menorah lights. Whether your plans are to be cozy at home with your immediate family, or elaborately planned Chanukah parties with
cousins and friends, here are some great ideas for some upcoming Holiday fun. Enjoy these home activities for a wholesome and wonderful time!
1. Create a family video. There are so many wonderful things about living in Eretz Yisrael. Chanukah time especially, you feel it in the air; with every shop and home getting ready, menorahs going up all over the city, and a huge plus, no non-Jewish holiday items in sight! While this aspect is truly amazing, it can also be hard at times, especially when you’re not with family for Yom Tov. Try connecting with family all over the world by watching the same video with familiar faces. Before Chanukah send out a request for a video from each family member, with a question or guideline: Try family trivia, or favorite cousin memory. Let everyone have a good laugh and a great time connecting to family across the globe. Ask the tech-pro in the family to put it together, or hire someone to make it professional. Then sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!
2. Donut Decorating! We all know a good Chanukah party isn’t complete without good food. We wait for the classic sufganiot all year, along with Chanukah cookies or even some good cake. Turn your dessert into a fun activity by letting your guests decorate it themselves with frosting, sprinkles, cookies crumbs and chocolate coins! Either make it yourself, or ask your local bakery or home businesses for your
doughnuts and toppings separately. Try turning it into a contest, for the funniest, prettiest, or yummiest dessert. For an additional fun twist, split your group into teams. Show them a pre-decorated cake for a number of minutes, and then take it away, for them to copy by memory. Whoever comes out with the closest match wins! With whatever option you choose, you’ll end up with a creative game, and a
delicious dessert! Bitei’Avon!
3. Paint night! Another great, bonding activity is painting! Crafts are great for all ages, and could be more slow paced and relaxing. You can hire an instructor to come to your house with all the supplies, to teach everyone a pre-determined painting of choice. The instructor brings everything you need to set up, and can help each person individually. There are paint instructors in almost every neighborhood in Jerusalem. You can also order paint kits from many local home businesses for a DIY experience. Paint kits are delivered to your door with all the paint, brushes, and supplies necessary, including step by step picture instructions to follow along. Alternatively you can just order the supplies yourself, and get your creative juices flowing!
4. Dreidel….with a twist. We all love a good old fashioned game of dreidel, sitting around in a cozy circle, only complete with the Chanukah gelt. Dreidels in Israel can be picked up wherever you go – groceries, shekel stores, Judaica, you name it. Now try spicing up this traditional game with a few funky rules! Gimmel = get everything, Hay = half, Pey = pay ….and Nun = nothing? Try replacing Nun with a challenge! Every time a player lands on Nun, they have to pick a dare from a bowl! Dance around the room, sing a Chanukah song, taste a suspicious concoction or the like! Complete this game with a plethora of shekel store prizes and it will be a Chanukah party to remember!
5. Kahoots. There are many online escape rooms or fun games to choose from. Kahoots is a game of questions that you come up with, which your guests answer from their smart phones. This game can be projected on the wall, or placed on a laptop in the front of the room. Stick with Chanukah trivia, or maybe ask questions about the craziest thing each player has done. It’s an awesome connecting activity that can be played each person for themselves or in group teams. So dim the lights, and get involved. We hope you find something you enjoy on this list of Chanukah activities to lighten up your Chanukah party. Check out our website for more information on Chanukah in Israel.
Have a happy and Lichtege Chanukah!
With winter fast approaching, Motzei Shabbosim are getting longer and longer. I know, there are always
dishes to wash, but why not hit the town for a good time? Here are the top 5 things to do in Jerusalem
on a Saturday night.
1. Escape room
Going to an escape room is a fun and engaging activity for a couple or a group of friends. You and your
party are locked into a room (or sometimes a series of rooms) and have to look around for clues, codes
and keys until you break yourself out. There is a storyline told to you before you go in, and a series of
connecting clues leading you along, to help you get out in the time frame of one hour. It’s thrilling,
unifying and really thought-provoking. (Bring your smartest friends!) Its a great way to spend an evening
indoors with something fun to do. Although there are many escape rooms in Jerusalem, I found one I
liked in the Ben Yehuda area. Call to book in advance because only one group can go at a time.
Secret room Jerusalem
16, Yoel Moshe Salomon St, Jerusalem
2. Go out to eat.
This one never gets old! They say that eating connects people, and it’s definitely always enjoyable!
Whether you’re ordering to your home, finding a park to chill in, or eating in the restaurant (corona
permitting of course) eating out is a fun way to connect with friends and family. Check out our list of
restaurants for some good ideas and fast contact information. We have a separate list of dairy and parve
places, the usual go-to's after a Shabbos full of meat, or Fleishigs for those who want. Delivery options
are included, check it out!
3. Kever Rochel or Shmuel Hanavi
For those of us looking to get holy on a Motzei Shabbos and take advantage of living in the land, going to
a Kever is a great idea. There is always something or someone to Daven for, and Kevarim are a
wonderful way to connect. Kever Rochel has busses running even on Motzei Shabbos (try the 71 or 72.)
It’s a quick ride and a fantastic way to fill your evening.
Kever Shmuel Hanavi is less popular but also a great and fulfilling way to spend your Motzei Shabbos.
Any bus going up Shmuel Hanavi Street should take you to the bottom of the hill, although you still have a small mountain to climb! With a breathtaking view, Shmuel Hanavi is one of the highest points in Jerusalem, so hitch a ride, or put on your sneakers for the winding paved road ahead. Aside from being a wonderful Jewish prayer site, Kever Shmuel Hanavi is surrounded by a nice area with benches, gazebos
and places to walk around. With beautiful indoor bathrooms, it’s really all inclusive!
4. Bowling, Go Carts, Arcades
If you’re missing the fun thrill of a Dave and Busters, or local bowling alley, we’ve got you covered.
On the bottom few floors of Talpiot mall is a bowling alley, a room with arcades, karaoke, and go carts.
The bowling alley is really big and well done, complete with a cafe for chips and salsa, slurpees, and
loads of other snacks and treats. They are constantly upgrading their arcades. You can win tickets for
prizes or reserve a pool table. On the lower level is a go-cart track for 50 shekels per round. Enjoy!
HaUman St 17, קניון לב תלפיות
5. Ceramic Painting
For a more relaxing and slow paced activity, try out one of Jerusalem’s many pottery studios. With soft
music playing, and calm energy, ceramic painting is a fun way to unwind and create, especially for those
who are artistic. You can paint a cute tchatchka for your shelf, a serving dish for Shabbos, or a gift for a
friend. With many options to choose from at varying prices, it’s a wonderful activity, and great for all
ages. JClay is in Jerusalem’s center, located in Geula area. This studio specializes in Judaic products, from
models of Kever Rochel, Mezuzos, Kiddish Cups and more. For a Motzei Shabbos appointment, call to
book in advance.
Yosef Ben Matityahu St 14, Jerusalem
We hope you find this list informative and varied for whatever mood you find yourself in on Motzei
Shabbos! Luckily for us, Yerushalayim has really got it all! Enjoy your evening and Gut Voch!