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Passover will take place in Israel this year between sunset on Friday 19 April, and sunset on Friday 26 April. The first and last days of Passover – Saturday 20 April and Friday 26 April – are legal holidays in Israel. Passover marks the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt, from slavery to freedom. Jews are commanded to tell the story as if it had happened to them personally and not as a mere historical event, in order to emphasize the importance of our hard-won and precious freedom.

Preparations for Passover

The period preceding Passover is marked by extensive preparations and several special ceremonies. The most important of these concerns the removal of hametz, i.e. any food product that contains leavened wheat, oat, barley, rye, or spelt products. In keeping with the Biblical command in Exodus 12:19 and 13:7, Jews will, before Passover, thoroughly clean their homes to remove any crumbs or bits of food, etc. that may be hametz. This cleaning culminates in a ritual candlelight search for hametz in one's home, accompanied by a special blessing and the renunciation of formal ownership over any remaining hametz. The hametz collected during the search is then burned on the morning before Passover. It is also customary to sell one's hametz to a non-Jew – usually by authorizing a rabbi to act as an agent for the sale – as a supplementary measure. While certain types of dishes and utensils can be made kosher for Passover, many Jews will have separate sets of dishes and utensils solely for use during Passover.

In the absence of leaven, Jews will eat specially prepared unleavened bread, or matzah, on Passover. Many Jews will also eat products made with matzah "flour" – unleavened bread that has been finely ground. Matzah dates back to the Exodus, where the Jews, not having had time to wait for dough to rise before leaving Egypt, journeyed into the desert with unleavened bread.

First-born males over 13 are required to fast on the day before Passover – in commemoration of the fact that first-born Jewish males were spared when first-born Egyptian males were killed during the tenth plague – but may be released of this obligation by participating in a special festive meal, such as accompanies the conclusion of study of a tractate of the Talmud or a circumcision, on the morning before Passover.

The Sabbath before Passover – 13 April this year – is known as “the Great Sabbath,” and is marked by a special reading from Malachi 3:4-24. In the afternoon, it is traditional for rabbis to give special sermons, usually on the laws associated with Passover.

The Seder and the First Day of Passover

On the evening of Friday 19 April, after festive evening prayers, families will eat a special ceremonial meal known as the seder, which commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. The guide for the seder is detailed in a book known as the Haggadah, literally "narration," which relates the story of the Exodus from Egypt. A plate placed on the seder table contains several special foods: a roasted egg, symbolizing the special sacrifices which were brought in the Temple; a roasted shank bone, recalling the special Passover lamb offered and eaten in Temple times; a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and cinnamon known as haroset, symbolizing the mortar that the Hebrew slaves in Egypt used to make bricks; sprigs of parsley and lettuce, symbolizing spring; a bitter herb symbolizing the bitterness of slavery; and salt water, recalling the tears shed by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Three sheets of matzah – marking the division of the Jewish people into priests, Levites, and the general population – are also placed on the table.

During the course of the seder, the Ten Plagues are recalled. When each of the Plagues is mentioned, each participant dips a finger into his/her cup of wine and removes a drop; even though the Jews were oppressed in Egypt, we are reminded that we must not rejoice over the Egyptians' suffering. Our cups of wine cannot thus be full.

One of the more popular seder customs for children concerns the afikoman, a special piece of matzah that is the last food eaten during the Seder. The head of the household customarily hides the afikoman somewhere in the house, and the children then search for it. Once found, the afikoman is "ransomed," since the Sender cannot continue until the afikoman is eaten. This helps to keep the children focused on the seder and to pique their curiosity regarding the entire Passover epic.

On the morning of Saturday 20 April, festive prayers (including a prayer for abundant dew during the spring and summer) and special readings, including the Song of Songs, will figure prominently in synagogue services.

Saturday, 20 April is a full public holiday, i.e. there is no public transportation or newspapers, and shops will be closed.

The Intermediate Days of Passover

While the intermediate days of Passover (this year from sunset on Saturday 20 April until sunset on Thursday 25 April) are not full public holidays, special prayers and readings are recited in the synagogue. Schools will remain closed, as will many businesses. Post offices and banks will be open but will have reduced hours. Newspapers will be published.

Jewish tradition maintains that the parting of the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptian army occurred on the seventh day of Passover, but even though Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, Jews nevertheless do not rejoice over the death of the Egyptians in the sea and only an abridged version of Hallel (Psalms 113-118) – a holiday prayer – is recited after the first day of Passover.

From the evening of Saturday 20 April, Jews will keep a nightly count of the 49 days (seven weeks), until the evening of Friday 7 June, one day before the holiday of Shavuot. This count commemorates the Temple offering of the omer, or sheaf of new grain, in keeping with the Biblical injunction of Leviticus 23:15-16.

The Seventh Day of Passover

The celebration of the seventh day of Passover as a full holiday is specified in Exodus 12:16 and Leviticus 23:8. This year, the seventh day begins at sunset on Thursday 25 April and lasts until sunset on Friday 26 April. On Friday morning, there will be festive services and readings in synagogues; special memorial prayers for the departed will also be said.

Friday 26 April is a full public holiday, i.e. there is no public transportation or newspapers, and shops will be closed.


Maimouna – an informal, yet widely celebrated holiday which originated among the Jews of North Africa, particularly those from Morocco – is celebrated the day after Passover or the second day after Passover if the last day of Passover falls on a Friday as it does this year. Accordingly, Maimouna will be celebrated this year beginning at sunset on Saturday 27 April and lasting until sunset on Monday, 28 April. According to custom, families prepare elaborate tables with various sweets and baked goods and host friends and family members. Whole neighborhoods often close as celebrations spill out into the streets and parks.

Passover in Film

Following are clips from six films (courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive) that depict the various ways in which Passover has been celebrated:

Ideal Travel Talks 1934 – Travelogue shot in Eretz Yisrael in 1934. The film includes rare scenes of Samaritans celebrating Passover on Mt. Gerizim and their high priests sacrificing the paschal lamb in the presence of the British High Commissioner of Palestine, Arthur Wauchope (from 30:55 min). (Note: The Samaritan community will celebrate Passover this year beginning on Thursday evening 18 April.)

Road to Liberty 1946 – Film about the Jewish Brigade which fought in World War II as a unit of the British Army. Includes scenes of Jewish soldiers celebrating the seder in Europe (from 8:03 min.)

To Save One Life 1952 – Docudrama about two sisters who immigrated to Israel from Yemen through Youth Aliyah. Includes scenes of Pesach cleaning, preparations, and seder in a youth village. (from 39:55 min.)

Seder De Pesach 1980s – A Jerusalem family from North African conduct a model Sephardic seder. The film is interspersed with stories and animations depicting the Exodus from Egypt. (French)

Operation Exodus Honors American Troops At A Special Seder In Israel 1991 – American soldiers stationed in Israel participate in a special seder with new immigrants from the CIS and Ethiopia, shortly after the Gulf War.

Our Way: Sarajevo 1993 – The JDC and Jewish leaders in Sarajevo, Bosnia hold a special seder during the civil war in the presence of Moslem and Christian clerics. (from 3:28 min.)

Passover Events

Passover events in Jerusalem


Passover events in Tel Aviv


  Photo Stella Szpira






29 Days ‘til Eurovision KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation: This is How Eurovision 2019 Will Look

The second wave of ticket sales will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, April 16 at 18:00 Israel Local Time on the Leaan website

At the official press conference held this morning, April 15th, the Eurovision Song Contest 2019’s official events were presented including the Orange Carpet event which will be held at Habima Square overlooked by Israel’s historic Habima Theater in Tel Aviv on May 12th. Other announcements included the release of another wave of tickets which will go on sale tomorrow (April 16) at 18:00 Israel Local Time.


Zivit Davidovitch, KAN’s Executive Producer of the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 said, “The Eurovision Song Contest is not what we knew 20 years ago and certainly not 40 years ago. In 1999, there were only 23 participating countries and this year 41 countries will participate. As people across the globe look to Israel as the 2019 Eurovision hosts, we want to present Israel in the best way we can. The Israeli team working on the Eurovision Song Contest is of the most experienced, both in terms of production and creativity. The Israeli Eurovision team are working on the project with the deep aspiration and mission to represent Israel and to produce the best Eurovision Song Contest in the 64 years of the competition’s existence”.

At the press conference, many of the Eurovision interval acts were announced. The interval acts will play a central role at each of the three performances of the Eurovision Song Contest. Yuval Cohen, TV and Show Producer, Deputy Executive Producer Eurovision Song Contest 2019 said, "After twenty years we are excited to host the world's largest music competition, in which 41 unique songs from different countries around the world will take center stage. A great deal of thought was invested in developing the line-up of the performances, with the aim of relating to the 200 million viewers watching across the globe and in the same breath bringing an Israeli experience to the screen".



The First Semi-Final will take place on May 14th, the Second Semi-Final will take place on May 16th and the Final will be held on May 18th, under the direction of the four Israeli Eurovision Hosts: Erez Tal, Bar Refaeli, Assi Azar, and Lucy Ayoub. For the first time, the final broadcast in Israel will begin at 21:40 with a special broadcast developed by Yardena Arazi, 40 years after she co-hosted the first Eurovision Song Contest held in Jerusalem on March 31st, 1979.


Announcing the Eurovision Interval Acts and the Artistic Programme

  • The 41 Eurovision Postcards - the artists representing each country flew to Israel to 'Dare to Dance' each in a different location in Israel.
  • The Idan Raichel Project will perform the song "Bo’ee – Come to Me" accompanied by 24 singers.
  • A glimpse of the multi-media video artist Kutiman, has redesigned the Eurovision Song-track.
  • Israel's very own Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, will show Tel Aviv and Israel as never before.
  • Shalva Band who taught us all a lesson in the power of a dream and the courage to realize it, will perform.
  • Past participants from various participating countries will also perform at the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 including, Conchita Wurst, Eleni Foureira, Verka Serduchka, Måns Zelmerlöw, and Gali Atari winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 1979.
  • Winner of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, Dana International will also receive due respect and recognition and will appear in the Semi-Finals and Final.
  • Izhar Cohen, the first Israeli to bring the Eurovision Song Contest to Israel will give the score of the Israeli judging team (and will close all the judges' votes).
  • Winner of the 1998 Eurovision Song Contest, Dana International will also receive due respect and recognition and will appear in the Semi-Finals and Final.
  • And of course, we will also have Netta Barzilai, who a year ago, in Lisbon, fulfilled her personal dream and that of all of us. Netta will perform with a world-premiere song and an unforgettable performance of "TOY".


Ticket Sales: From 200 New Israeli Shekels

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, announced today that the remaining tickets to the Eurovision Song Contest will open tomorrow (Tuesday) at 18:00 Israel time in a final wave of ticket sales.

All tickets will be available for purchase through Leaan’s official ticket website (link for purchasing tickets is here: https://bit.ly/2SZNBAt ).


In this second wave of ticket sales that will open today, ticket prices will be from 200 NIS (for rehearsals of the semi-finals) and at most 2000 NIS for the VIP Green Room (available for the Final only).



The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) cooperates with the Consumer Federation, Ticket Check. The federation's logo on the website is the sign that this is the official ticket-buying site. The EBU and the KAN recommend buying tickets only from the official website. Further information and updates can be found on the Eurovision.tv website.


Further information and official updates can be found on the website: Eurovision.tv/tickets

How is the Eurovision Song Contest Broadcast from Tel Aviv to 50 countries where the competition is aired and viewed by 200 million people?


KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation transfers the broadcast to the EBU in two different locations in Europe, and from there, the broadcast is distributed to all other countries.


The backup procedure is a complex operation. Each of the three shows are filmed and recorded during the general rehearsals and is used as a backup in parallel to the live broadcast, so that at any point in time during the live broadcast, it is possible to immediately switch to the backup recording of the rehearsals with the touch of a button.


The process of constructing the Eurovision arena takes 54 days and requires 450 trucks carrying containers which are managed and operated by some 300 technicians and expert workers from abroad, who together work in excess of 3,000 shifts during this time. In addition, it takes more than 96 hours to unload the 220 kilometres of cables and fibres that are used by the production teams.

1600 people, work on the production, including about 500 volunteers.


Pavilion 2 contains 7,280 places for the public and 46 commentator booths

Pavilion 1 will accommodate the delegations. There will be 1,500 places for the public and Green Room.

General information for the press: https://eurovision.tv/press

Keep updated on KAN’s Eurovision Twitter account (English): https://twitter.com/kaneurovision?lang=en

Eurovision’s international online platforms:









Eurovision 2019 will be broadcast by KAN, the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation, on 14, 16 and 18 May. The Eurovision Song Contest will be held for the 64th time and for the first time in Tel Aviv with the participation of 42 countries under the slogan 'Dare To Dream'.

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Photos Silvia G. Golan 







High-Tech Goes North

Israel Innovation Authority Launches Pilot with Bar-Lev High-Tech Park Encouraging Companies to Open R&D Centers in Northern Israel to Employ Thousands of Engineers


Major tech firms Fiverr, Outbrain, Check Point, Argus, Cadence, Ceva, WalkMe, SimilarWeb, CyberArk, and Playtika are among the hundreds of companies taking part

Jerusalem – March 31, 2019 - The Israel Innovation Authority is launching a national pilot program to create thousands of engineering jobs in Israel’s North specifically and peripheral regions in general by encouraging leading Israeli tech companies to open development centers in these areas.

The pilot begins on April 15 with an opening event led by the Israel Innovation Authority at the Bar-Lev High-Tech Park in Northern Israel. The event will highlight ten leading tech companies based in the center of the country, including Check Point, Cadence, Fiverr, WalkMe, Outbrain, Playtika, SimilarWeb, and others.


Companies interested in expanding their R&D activity and in recruiting top level candidates will have the opportunity to meet with residents of the North specializing in software and development who are interested in working in tech jobs close to home – something sorely missing from the region currently.

The Bar-Lev High-Tech Park, located between Acre and Carmiel, a half-hour ride from Haifa, invites entrepreneurs, tech professionals, and engineering and computer science students living in the North or interested in relocating to the North – to come and meet these leading and impactful Israeli high-tech companies. Hundreds of relevant candidates have already confirmed attendance.

Companies participating in the event are those interested in seeking the ideal place to expand their R&D activity in Israel, based on the quality of personnel located there.

During the event, companies will present their activities and challenges, including the need to recruit a top-level workforce. Exhibiting companies will have the opportunity to meet with tech professionals from the North and discuss employment opportunities.

The Israel Innovation Authority will present its programs for the periphery, which includes grants for innovative tech companies opening branches in towns in the periphery which can serve as anchors of sustainable employment. Also as part of the program, the Israel Innovation Authority will incentivize innovative companies to open R&D centers in the area. Support valued at NIS 10 million per company will be given over three years, so long as the company conducts 80% of its activity in the periphery and 60% of its employees reside there. This track will offer support for growth companies’ innovative R&D projects, reducing risks involved in setting up operations in the periphery with support over three years. The plan will also include additional support for setting up and adapting these research centers during their first year of operations.

Israeli Minister of Economy and Industry, Eli Cohen: “The pilot project at the Bar- Lev High-Tech Park, where hundreds of potential high-tech workers will meet with Israeli and multinational technology companies, is part of our policy to bolster employment and create first-rate workplaces in the periphery. It is one amongst several such programs promoted by the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and the Israel Innovation Authority bolstering top-level employment in peripheral areas, including grants for high-tech companies active in the periphery. These initiatives grow the number of high-tech companies engaged in R&D activity in the periphery, increase the areas of employment in high-tech, and reduce the migration of professionals from the periphery to the country’s center. We will continue to create ongoing employment in high-tech and increase technological enterprise in the periphery.”

Yael Jagerman Lavie, Chairwoman of the Bar-Lev High-Tech Park: “High-tech professionals from the North are invited to participate in this unique event and to take part in effecting real change in how both growth companies and multinationals make decisions regarding employment and opening R&D centers, which are today concentrated in central Israel. The goal is to change the face of the area by creating thousands of jobs for engineers in our technology park, to bring a wider range of high-tech jobs closer to home, to contribute to the development of the local ecosystem in general, and to expand the high-tech radius northward in the future.”

Aharon Aharon, CEO, Israel Innovation Authority: “The goal of the conference is to bring together two key parties – growing high-tech companies eagerly seeking top-level employees, and skilled workers interested in employment closer to home. We are keen on enabling these companies to realize the potential that exists in the North and to initiate activity and grow employment there.”







The inaugural TAP Air Portugal flight connecting directly Lisbon to Tel Aviv landed this Sunday for the first time at Ben Gurion airport, at 21:30 p.m., after just five hours traveling to unite the two cities.

On the other way, this Monday morning, at 5:05 a.m., passengers to Lisbon will depart from Tel Aviv.

TAP offers a daily flight between Tel Aviv and Lisbon with departure from Tel Aviv in the morning at 5:05, arriving in Lisbon at 9:00 (local time). From the Portuguese capital, flight departs at 14:20 and arrives in Israel at 21:30.

With this new route, TAP will be the first choice to explore Portugal and its archipelagos (Madeira and Azores) and Lisbon hub will be a privileged platform for connecting flights between Israel and the United States, Brazil, and Africa including Morocco, providing a very comfortable and competitive travel proposal.

TAP also offers Portugal Stopover, the programme that allows, without additional costs, a stay of up to 5 days in Portugal in all connection trips from or to Tel Aviv.



TAP’s CEO, Antonaldo Neves, was onboard the inaugural flight arriving from Lisbon: “TAP will bring more tourists to Israel, not only from Portugal but also, and probably even more, from markets like Brazil, where TAP flies to 10 different cities, and the United States of America, where TAP is growing by adding new routes and frequencies. People from Israel will also benefit from TAP’s seamless travel to Lisbon and beyond on the Portuguese airline’s wide network in the Americas and Africa.”



Airbus will deliver TAP 37 new aircraft by the end of this year and 71 to 2025, thus becoming TAP the operator of one of the most modern fleets in the world.

This renewal and growth of the fleet have allowed the Company to announce new routes and more frequencies. In North America, San Francisco, Washington, and Chicago are the new destinations. Naples, Tenerife, Dublin, Basel, and Conakry are also new destinations that TAP has already announced for 2019.

 The expansion of the network has been a top priority. In the last two years, TAP has launched successful programmes, reinforced existing routes and opened new ones and the inauguration of Tel Aviv-Lisbon connection represents one of the tiles of this strategy.






Photos Silvia Golan







The first ever Forbes Global Women’s Under 30 Summit officially kicked-off with the ringing of the opening bell at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. Moira Forbes introduced the event and called up to the stage all of the women on the Under 30 list. Over 400 participants joined in the celebration.


Forbes hosting the inaugural Under 30 Global Women’s Summit to bring about meaningful social change benefitting women everywhere. For four days, this international group of women and men will gather to bring change, build bridges, discuss challenges, and set goals of establishing new standards for women, all within the richness of Israel’s culture.   
Speakers who participate in the summit include:



Following the opening bell ceremony, a group of the Under 30 participants traveled to the SodaStream factory in the Negev desert, where they were given a tour of the facility by CEO Daniel Birnbaum, who told them about the history of the factory, the company and the employees, which include both Palestinians and Israelis working side by side. Birnbaum calls the factory an “island of peace in an area where terror and hate often rage.”


Day One of the Summit concluded with a food festival and party at the famous “Gordo on the Beach” in Tel Aviv, featuring food and drink from across the region.

Day 2 of the Women’s #Under30Summit:



Randall Lane opened the day with a fireside chat with Lynn Schusterman, who spoke about why she joined the Giving Pledge and how she approaches her philanthropic endeavors. “The main reason I joined the giving pledge is to teach people that it’s important to give their money away,” she said. “The bottom line why I really signed is for the next generation and the generation after - I totally believe that young people are the future, I count on each and every one of you, the future belongs to each of you.” At the end of the conversation, Randall presented Lynn with a limited edition cover of Forbes, with her picture and trademark “Shalom, y’all” on the top.


Lynn was followed on stage by Amanda Nguyen, who was the power behind the Sexual Assault Survivors' Rights Act, one of 23 bills to pass unanimously through US Congress. Amanda inspired the audience with her story and left everyone with a powerful message: “The most powerful tool we all have is our voice. I want everyone to remember that no one is powerless when we come together and no one is invisible when we demand to be seen,” she said.


The morning continued with a panel of women from the Israeli cybersecurity industry: Mor Chen, Managing Director, 8200 For Startups, Galit Zuckerman Stark, Founder & CEO, Medasense Biometrics and Noa Shafir, Cofounder & CPO, Odo Security. The three all spoke about their experiences as women in elite IDF technology units, the lessons they learned and how they incorporated those lessons into their professional careers leading cybersecurity organizations and companies.


The morning session closed with a one on one interview with Daniel Birnbaum, CEO of SodaStream, which was recently acquired by Pepsi for over $3B. He spoke about his work at SodaStream, the growth of the company and the unique opportunity that the company has at building what he calls an “island of peace,” in its factory in Israel, which includes both Israeli and Palestinian employees. He encouraged the audience to “dare to dream,” explaining that “as we age and we have to be serious and make a living we tend to lose our childhood dreams - let’s embrace that childhood dream. It changes, but chase it. You’ll be surprised that we can succeed very often. He also highlighted the importance of surrounding yourselves with the right people: “the most important thing is to surround yourself with great people - you want people around you that are energy givers, not energy takers. The best - and worst - business decisions for me have always been people decisions.” Birnbaum also announced on stage the launch of SodaStream's new “out of home” reusable bottles.


Tenzin Seldon, the Cofounder & CEO, Kinstep, a platform to help immigrants find work, highlighted the afternoon session of the Summit, sharing her story, her work, and her vision. During her remarks, Tenzin highlighted the fact that 1 billion environmental refugees will be forecasted to not have homes by 2050, saying that “this may be one of the greatest issues of our generation, yet we are not panicked and we should be - we have to ask how do we integrate these individuals, these human beings, with dignity.”


Amani Abu Tair, Founder & CEO, WAZZA INC, inspired participants with her story. WAZZA is a digital management platform for the preschool sector, which provides a simple and direct user- friendly interface for teachers to provide live attendance reporting, maintain daily records, manage billing, communicate calendar activities, send announcements & receive confirmations. Amani told the crowd to not be apologetic about being both a mother and a business leader - embrace both equally, and when needed, merge them, telling the Summit about when she needed to bring her child to a pitch meeting with a VC firm, asking the partner at the firm to watch her son while she pitched her company.


Leanne Fremar, the Chief Brand Officer, JPMorgan Chase spoke about the work the firm is doing on promoting women’s careers, highlighting JPMorgan Chase’s “Women on the Move” program. The program focuses on three areas: 1. Helping women-led businesses by providing greater access to capital and resources; 2. Providing tools to help women feel more comfortable with their finances; and 3. Empowering women at the firm by providing coaching, leadership training, benefits, etc. aimed at helping to get more women into leadership positions at the company.


To view the full agenda and speaker line-up, please visit https://www.forbes.com/forbes-live/event/under-30-summit-global/.


Photos by Forbes