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The Holiday of Holidays Festival  December 14-23, in Haifa

A Haifaite intercultural celebration of music, tastes, scents, interactive presentations, exhibitions, activities for children, and more


Idan Sharabi in the premiere of Dinosaur, a tribute to Arab film, The Gulasa Ensemble in “Yemenite Women’s Songs”, an experience in Wadi Nisnas – a tour of open houses and of the Museum Without Walls, the opening of the newest exhibit in the Beit Ha’Gefen contemporary art gallery – “Self Collection” – collective lectures, and more!

See below for a full program:

The “Holiday of Holidays” Festival opens its 24th year with a rich variety of unique cultural events for the whole family in the Wadi Nisnas neighborhood and the Beit Ha’Gefen family compound, with the festival’s peak events taking place on Saturday, December 16 and 23.

This year's festival features a particularly rich program: circus workshops with "Circus Action", the Christmas processions, a visit to the open house of the local Santa Claus, a musical performance by the Gulasa Ensemble with Yemenite Women’s songs, “Arab Film” – a tribute concert of the singer Firqat Alnoor to Arab Films – hosted at the festival as part of the Pais Stages series, "Self Collection" a group exhibition at the Beit HaGefen Contemporary Art Gallery. Tours of the residents' homes in Wadi Nisnas, tasting tours in the wadi, film screenings and creative meetings, a national antiques fair, a series of lectures on the bar, and outdoor performances for the general public.

On Saturdays there will be musical performances in Wadi Nisnas by a variety of rich and wonderful styles of changing ensembles, Jews and Arabs - from Greece to Egypt, from Turkey to the Silk Road. In addition, two street parties will be held in the center of the Wadi, with cooperation by the audience: a swing party accompanied by dancers and dance teachers who will invite the audience to experience and participate in the party, and the Debka party. The audience will be invited to dance with the bands on the street.

Santa Claus, who is celebrating his 30th anniversary in this role, will open his home to a crowd of visitors at 6 Hadad Street, where he will sit next to the Christmas Tree and distribute gifts to children.

Asaf Ron, Director of Beit Ha’Gefen: "The holiday festival is an event designed to strengthen the heterogeneous society in Israel. The city of Haifa, as a mixed city, is fertile ground for effective dialogue between the different groups in Israeli society. We believe that through culture and art it will be possible to create an egalitarian and secure space that will enable a deep dialogue while accepting the other without judgment. "




Among the most prominent events:

 14.12 – 210:00 – Opening Event – Musical Laboratory – Swing De Gitanes join Elias Subi and Khaled Giet to create together a new source show – in the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater – free entrance based on availability

14.12 – Exhibit Opening “Self Collection” – Beit Ha’Gefen Contemporary Art Gallery (Ha’Gefen St. 2) – An exhibition that presents works dealing with the practices of hoarding, collecting and archiving. A collection of personal objects that turn into archaeological finds, a light installation based on memories of a familiar landscape and an archive in the making, consisting entirely of smears, are just a few of the works created especially by the artists and artists participating in the exhibition.

15.12 – Gulasa Ensemble – Beit Ha’Gefen Theater – Four artists who connect and create a new incarnation of the music and singing of Jewish women from Yemen. The mystical and mythical texts are given modern and contemporary meaning in the composition of a special performance combining poetry, African string instruments, percussion instruments, guitars and cello, which expresses the sound and the female voice. The show gives a new interpretation to the spiritual world of the woman in Yemen and takes the audience into a world of rhythm, dance, passion, prayer and longing for freedom.

16.12 – Opening of the National Children’s Paintings Exhibit – Opening ceremony of the Children’s Art Exhibition – with participation of the drummers and Dabke group of the Ahva School

17.12 – Tibetan Opera – Performed by the GANSU TIBET FOLKLORE DANCE GROUP at the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater – free entrance based on availability

Winter Festival in the German Colony – stalls, street performers, musical performers, and a uniquely long and lit up avenue with a Euro-Mediterranean air. Every evening starting at 18:00 – open to everyone

20.12 – Collections on the Bar – What is the smell of belonging, what can you glean at home, what does the nose really know, how do you build a private art collection, what are the stories behind the oud? A collection of lectures on the bar, open to the public

18:30 – BKIND – A new social start-up whose goal is to increase positive, caring and generous action among people. Gather at the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater and create a Haifa chain for good deeds. Open to the public.

19:30 – The Artist Talia Hoffman – She creates an archive of smells while talking to the audience in the room about thoughts, memories, residency and local situations. Beit Hagefen Gallery

20:00 – Gathering Next to the Home – Dr. Uri Meir Chizhik – The tradition of gathering disappearing, where and what can be gleaned, and how to use all this goodness that grows right under our noses. Café talateen Massada 30

20:30 – Collecting and Enjoying – Guide to the Perplexed for the Beginner Collector - Yoad Bar Noy (curator and director of the “Less than 1000” Galleries) and Serge Tirosh, a world renowned collector, on revolutions in the art market, compromises and how to begin an art collection.

21:00 – What the Nose Knows – Itzik Lavi – Dr. Smell – How much the sense of smell affects us in all areas of life from making decisions, what we eat and how we choose our partners. Syncope Bar – Khiyat 5

21:00 – More and More / Oud and Oud – Bishara Dov builds and collects oud - each of them tells a different story altogether. Indo Pub. Nathanson 14

21.12 – “Arab Film” – A series of tribute performances by Firqat Alnoor for Arab films - hosted at the festival as part of the Bimot Pais (Pais Stages) series at the Krieger Center

15.12 and 22.12 – Experience in the Wadi – Visiting open houses. A project that began two years ago, in cooperation and after a long process with the residents of Wadi Nisnas, who want to introduce the visitors to the Wadi from the inside, beyond the stalls, music for food and the market, to get to know the Wadi differently and more deeply. The residents of the Wadi open their homes and tell the story of their lives that have been intertwined in the neighborhood since then. Among the hosts are Fawzia and Umm Jihad, a pair of friendly neighbors and good friends who bring their personal stories and the story of the Wadi alongside holiday cookies, steaming tea, and sparkling Christmas trees; Walid, the neighborhood barber who has been collecting and storing secrets and hairdressing neighbors for 50 years; Kamil Shehadeh, Artist and Caligrapher, who will participate in the Arab rhythms of Arabic poetry, Bishara Dib, the builder of musical instruments and many more.

22.12 - A classical concert of the Suhail Radwan Arab Orchestra. The Suhail Radwan Arabic Music Orchestra in an instrumental performance featuring classical pieces by Muhammad Abd Alwahab, Farid Al-Rash, Mohammed Al-Qasabji and other original works. Beit Hagefen Theater. Tickets for purchase.

An Awakening and Refreshing Tasting Tour –Chef Balashuk (Chef Goes to Market) - with actor Ran Amir A tour that includes many tastings and encounters with the people of the Wadi. Welcoming people with an open heart. The tour leads to the colorful figure of Chef Balashuk, full of passion for tastes, smells and meaningful encounters. This is a tour of bridging the worlds and bringing the hearts together in a variety of flavors, smells and sounds. A two-hour tour

Early Morning Tour – Wake Up Tour - New at the Festival - So what happens on a festive holiday day before the audience arrives? The neighborhood in a moment before everything happens, before the Wadi comes to life and embraces the participants of the festival. A guided tour of the gallery at the “Self Collection” exhibition, a meeting with Tony Ashkar - a unique collector, discussion of the works of Chaya Toma - an artist who live in the Wadi – and other artists whose works are part of a Museum Without Walls in Wadi Nisnas. A delicious snack at Shehadeh. Just before everything happens, just before the music plays, that the dancing begins and the smells of the holiday will not leave you, you'll still be able to see a little behind the scenes of one of the largest productions in Israel.

14.12 AND 21.12 – 17:00 – Christmas Tour – New at the festival - Meet Haifa a little differently. A tour of Wadi Nisnas, a visit to the home of the local Santa Claus - Baba Nawal, to hear of his life's work as a distributor of light and joy and a professional gift dispenser, to meet the Armenian parish priest in the church and to be exposed to the story of the community, to see the Catholic Church in all its beauty and end. (Those who choose to take a tour on 14.12 will be able to continue at the end of the tour straight to the opening of the exhibition and the holiday festival)

16.12-23.12 – National Annual Antiques Fair – dozens of merchants and collectors and hundreds of antique items and vintage products. The fair takes place on the top floor of the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater under the direction of Gadi Avraham. Among the fair's exhibitors are collectors of jewelry, coins, antique collectors, old furniture, old art and more. 8-9, 15-16, 22-23. Fridays 10: 00-16: 00. Saturdays 10: 00-18: 00

16.12-23.12 – The family compound in the backyard of Beit Ha’Gefen, where activities will be held for the whole family, including musical performances, dance, circus and more in Hebrew, Arabic and no language at all.

Neighborhood Cinema – The Cinema Theater in cooperation with the Haifa Cinematheque - Friday at 13:00 at the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater:

15.12 - "Recycled Orchestra" - a film for the whole family. Before the film there will be a show - sounds from the junkyard

22.12 – “The Wonderful Kingdom of Papa Eliav” – the Bukharian answer to the Jackson family - the story of a famous and temperamental musical family from Tajikistan.

16-23.12 – Circus Action – An interactive circus tent, colorfully decorated with joyful features, including aerial acrobatics equipment, juggling objects, tight-rope walking, unicycling, and more! We invite the community throughout the days of the festival to experience various circus skills with all of our equipment and activities, with the help of two guides and the owners of the circus – Michal and Roi Frampshes.

Every Saturday at 14:30 - A festive Christmas procession will take place from the church on Allenby Street (near Emile Habibi Square). The procession is led by Santa Claus and is accompanied by hundreds of members of the Maronite, Roman Catholic and Armenian bands and orchestras, piping orchestras, drummers, drummers, dancers and more.

23.12 – 20:30 – Festival Closing Performance - Dinosaur - Premiere - A special dance performance composed of two dance works by Idan Sharabi and performing dancers at the Beit Ha’Gefen Theater

The “Holiday of Holidays” Festival is produced by Beit Ha’Gefen – Arab-Jewish Cultural Center in Haifa, together with the Municipality of Haifa.


For more information, see the festival website: haifahag.com


 Photo PR / Gulaza  /Press Ronen Goldman