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Events in Jerusalem



I.Annual Events in Jerusalem


Jerusalem's principal festivals, The Israel Festival and The International Film Festival are held during the warm spring and summer months, but Jerusalem is also home to many special events that take place throughout the year. Following is a brief explanation and information for the two major festivals and the additional year-round events.


May – June  – The Israel Festival

The Festival takes place annually for a few weeks in the spring. Throughout the festival audiences are able to enjoy performances by artists from all over the world, as well as premieres of Israeli works and tributes to leading Israeli artists. The public can also attend a large selection of free performances, including street theater, children's shows and a nightly jazz club. For additional information please visit their website at


July – The International Film Festival

The festival is ten days long, screening between 150-200 films in a number of programs: Panorama, showcasing the best of international feature films; Documentary Films, dedicated to international documentary film-making, The Jewish Experience, dealing with issues of Jewish identity and history, In the Spirit of Freedom, concerned with questions of freedom and human rights, Television Dramas, New Directors, and of course, Israeli Film. For additional information please visit their website at


September – The Jerusalem International Chamber Music Festival

The festival, held every year for two weeks in September, is acknowledged for its exceptional repertoire. Showcasing internationally renowned musicians, the festival takes place at the YMCA in Jerusalem. For additional information please visit their website:


October – The Abu Gosh Music Festival

The Abu Gosh Music Festival is Israel's main festival of vocal music. The 3-5 day festival is held twice a year; in September-October, during the Sukkot holiday, and in May-June, during the Shavuot holiday. The festival presents a program of musical performances from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. Concerts take place in the Crusader Church at Abu Gosh. For additional information please visit their website:


November – The Jerusalem International Oud Festival

The oud is one of the most popular instruments in Middle Eastern music, and the festival focuses on the oud and other related instruments. It serves as a meeting place between Middle Eastern and other cultures, emphasizing the similarities and differences between them. The festival takes place at the Jerusalem Theatre. For additional information please visit the theatre's website:


December – The Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival

Held annually since 1999, the Festival takes place around or during the Hanukah holiday in December, and lasts for six days. Over 50 films, from Israel and from all over the world, are screened - feature films, documentaries, shorts, animated and avant-garde films. The films explore themes of Jewish faith and practice, history, culture, music, the Holocaust, contemporary life in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora, the relationship between Judaism and other world religions and the role of Jewish identity in the State of Israel. For additional information please visit the following website:


February –  The Jerusalem International Book Fair

First held in 1963, The Jerusalem International Book Fair (JIBF) is a unique biennial event that draws over 1,200 publishers from more than 40 countries, who display more than 100,000 books in different languages. In addition to being recognized as an important commercial event, the JIBF is also recognized as an international cultural event with dynamic and timely cultural and educational programs and special exhibits. For additional information please visit their website at


March – The Jerusalem Arts Festival

The Jerusalem Municipality's Department of the Arts works throughout the year with amateur groups based in Jerusalem, in the fields of dance, theater, music and song. In 2002 the Arts Department inaugurated the "Jerusalem Festival of the Arts," bringing together performing groups from both Jerusalem and throughout the country for a week of performing arts. Every evening the public can enjoy, free of charge, "Artistic Snacks," a series of events taking place in the lobby of the Jerusalem Theater, before and after the performances. In addition, there are events for neighborhood communities, a community theater marathon, and performances by immigrant groups.

For additional information please visit their website at


August – The International Festival of Puppet Theater

Seventeen years and still going strong, the International Puppet Theater Festival is a summer favorite for many Jerusalemites, bringing puppet theaters from Israel and around the world to participate in a weeklong event. Performances delight adults and children alike. The annual festival is hosted by the Train Theater. For additional information please visit their website at


II.Performance Space and Theater


Jerusalem Theatre

The Jerusalem Theater is the city's largest and most active cultural center. It contains four performance halls, as well as a dairy cafe, a bookstore, large gallery spaces and more. All major plays in Israel (and many minor ones as well) appear on its stages. The theater is the home venue of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, as well as a popular site for outdoor jazz concerts during the warmer months. Independent films are frequently screened in the various theaters. Check the website for a full listing of upcoming events. or phone the theater at 02 – 560-5755.


Binyanei Hauma – Jerusalem International Convention Center

Located at the entrance to the city and across from the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, Binyanei Hauma is the large complex of glass and concrete buildings with a colorful array of flags at its entrance. Binyanei Hauma hosts professional events, fashion shows, trade fairs, receptions, banquets, weddings and family events. Culturally, Binyanei Hauma is home to a wide display of fine arts from both local and international artists, and its many stages host music performances ranging from classical to modern rock. Binyanei Hauma is the home base in Jerusalem for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra ( and the Israel Symphony Orchestra ( For additional information on upcoming events you may contact them at 02 – 6230032.


Beit Avi Chai

The Avi Chai Foundation's stated goals are the furthering of Jewish identity, identification with the state of Israel, religious observance and sensitivity between Jewish groups. To that end, it has established Beit Avi Chai on King George Street in Jerusalem – a cultural center to host its events. It offers lectures, jazz, youth programs, art displays, programs about piyut (Jewish liturgical poetry) and more. For additional information please visit their website at:


Brigham Young University Summer Concert Series

The Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center, housed in a prominent multi-tiered building, is located on Mount Scopus. It is home to a large concert hall, offering a lengthy series of free classical, ethnic, and jazz concerts. All concerts start at 20:00 and tickets will be honored until 19:45. There are no telephone or e-mail ticket reservations: Information on concert programs and how to order tickets is provided on their website: or you may contact them at 02 – 626-5666.


Hama'abada (The Lab)

The Jerusalem Performing Arts Lab, better known as Hama'abada, is located in an abandoned warehouse at Jerusalem's old train station. Originally intended to incubate local talent, the Lab now draws both relatively unknown Israeli musicians and headlining international acts looking for a cozier venue. The Lab also sponsors and develops multiple events in other media, including dance, theater, traditional art

and video art. Increase your enjoyment with a drink from the bar. Additional information may be found on their website:, or you may contact them at 02 – 629-2000.


Mishkenot Sha'ananim

Mishkenot Sha'ananim is an international center of culture and conferences in Jerusalem. It is home to an art gallery and various cultural events which focus on the city of Jerusalem. For more information please visit their website at or you may contact them at 02 – 629-2212.


Off the Wall Comedy Basement

Off the Wall focuses mostly on English stand-up, with English open mic on Mondays, but on Thursday nights the microphone is handed off to the natives. Check their website for a complete listing of showtimes. The club is located underground; access is from the stairs in the plaza in front of the Ha-Mashbir mall. For additional information please visit their website at


The Jerusalem Music Center

The Jerusalem music center is a world-class national resource center, dedicated to encouraging the country's finest talents, and initiating and implementing many cultural program and projects. For additional information please visit their website at


The Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem

Ein Kerem is a small Judean Hills village on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. There are multiple galleries with art inspired by Ein Kerem's dramatic landscapes, and providing the soundtrack to it all is the Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem. The Ein Kerem Music Center specializes in classical music, showcasing performers from Israel's professional orchestras, youth programs and Israel's Russian immigrant community. Most of the theater's shows are on Friday and Saturday, which means that getting there from elsewhere in the city will require planning beforehand (there is no public bus transportation available in Jerusalem on Shabbat). For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 641-4250.


Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine (Tzolelet Tzehubah in Hebrew) serves as a center for the development and performance of underground, non-pop music in the city of Jerusalem. Nestled among the drab warehouses and factories of Talpiot, Yellow Submarine nurtures musicians with rehearsal rooms and a recording studio, along with music classes, and then gives them a venue in which to demonstrate their talent. Styles of music range from modern rock and hardcore punk to salsa and avant-garde jazz, with just about everything in between. Performers range from upstart bands to well-established alternative artists, and performances run every night until the early hours of the morning. The Submarine also houses a bar for those who like a drink with their performances. For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 670-4040.



The YMCA has a 600-seat auditorium/performance hall. The auditorium plays host to a diverse assembly of performances open to the public. These include classical music concerts featuring both local and international musicians, frequent performances by the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, dance, film showings, religious services and more. For more information please visit their website:


Beit Shmuel

Beit Shmuel is the in-house performance space of the Hebrew Union College, the main rabbinical seminary for American Reform Judaism. Also known as Merkaz Shimshon, the theater offers a constantly changing list of events, including live music, dance, theatrical productions and fine art exhibits. A full listing of events can be found on Beit Shmuel's website:


Gerard Bechar Center

The Bechar Center is multidisciplinary; its galleries, studios and stages host dance performances (two dance companies, Vertigo and Kolben, call the Bechar Center home), classical, jazz and pop music concerts, plays and theater workshops, the yearly Jerusalem Arts Festival and more. The center also features a constantly rotating


display of local and international modern art and photography. You may call for a full schedule of events at: 02 – 625-1139.


Khan Theater

The Jerusalem Khan is one of the most highly regarded theaters in Israel's very active theater scene. The Khan company produces three to four plays per season, including Israeli and international selections. Plays are usually presented in Hebrew, but English plays are not unheard of. The Khan also hosts theater workshops for both children and adults, as well as lectures, panel discussions and opportunities to meet theater actors and writers. Check online or with the box office 02 – 671-8281 for schedules.




Jerusalem is home to two major museums, with a talented, supporting cast of many others. The Israel Museum and Yad Vashem, recognized and acclaimed all over the world, head an extensive and varied list of museum attractions.


Israel Museum

The Israel Museum is the country's flagship museum and is home to one of the finest and most comprehensive collections of antiquities in the world. The museum's architecture is complemented by the unique Shrine of the Book, home to the Dead Sea Scrolls and designed to resemble the lids of the jars in which the Scrolls were discovered.  The museum and its grounds are vast, encompassing exhibits

on archaeology, an exceptional worldwide Judaica section (including synagogues from Germany, Italy and India, wholly reconstructed within the museum), classic and modern art (with constantly rotating exhibits, an excellent selection of both local and international modern art and a beautiful sculpture garden), a children's museum and much, much more. Opening hours are: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday 10:00 to 17:00; Tuesday 16:00 to 21:00; Friday 10:00 to 14:00. For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 670-8811.


Yad Vashem

Yad Vashem is a memorial to those who perished in the Holocaust. Situated on a sylvan hill on the western fringes of Jerusalem and adjoining Israel's main military cemetery, Yad Vashem takes full advantage of the emotional and historical resonance of its location, spinning the beauty of its surroundings and the oppressive somberness of its subject matter into a potent allegory of national destruction and redemption. The museum itself, which can take an entire day to fully experience, offers edification for the casual tourist all the way up to the serious Holocaust scholar. A rich trove of documents and artifacts acquired from donations from survivors and other countries adds visceral weight to the tragedy of the Holocaust, and the more abstract exhibits, from the haunting Children's Memorial to the brooding tomb of all Europe's destroyed Jewish communities, take a heavy emotional toll. Entrance is free of charge. Hours of operation are: Sunday to Wednesday 9:00 to 17:00 (entrance permitted until 16:00); Thursday 9:00 to 20:00 (entrance permitted until 19:00); Friday, 9:00 to 14:00 (entrance permitted until 13:00). For additional information please visit their website at: or contact them at 02 – 644-3749.


Bloomfield Science Museum

The museum is especially child-friendly, with interactive exhibits explaining everything from the principles of construction and architecture (the charmingly titled “Why Don't Buildings Fall Down?") to a look into man's probable future with "House on Mars." Accompanying adults however, stand to learn a few things as well. In addition to its interactive exhibits, the museum offers classes to teach young and old the miracles of science.

Located at The Hebrew University, Givat Ram, the Museum hours are: Monday to Thursday 10:00 to 18:00; Friday 10:00 to 14:00; Saturday 10:00 to 15:00. For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at 02-654-4888.


The Jerusalem Archaeological Park

The Jerusalem Archaeological Park, also known as the Archaeological Garden, researches and displays the many layers of archaeological discoveries made in Jerusalem's Old City, from Canaanite to Mameluke periods (and everything in between). The park encompasses outdoor displays around the Temple Mount, in the Valley of Hinnom, and up to the slopes of the Mount of Olives. Indoor types can enjoy the on-site Davidson Center, a museum of Jerusalem's multi-period history which literally lets you descend through the tiers of time.

Located inside the Dung Gate of The Old City, operating hours are Sunday to Thursday 8:00 to 17:00; Friday 8:00 to 14:00. For more information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 627-7750.


The Tower of David Museum

The Tower of David, a minaret added by the Ottomans to an older Mameluke mosque, dominates the Old City's skyline and has become an unmistakable emblem of Jerusalem. However, the historically interesting part of the citadel lies behind the tower. Situated over a weak spot in the ancient city's defenses, the area of the citadel has been continuously used as a fortification by every Jerusalem civilization from the Canaanites and Israelites on down to the Ottomans, all building atop and throughout each other's works – and they have all left extensive reminders of their presence behind. The on-site museum documents the complete history of Jerusalem as seen through the lens of the ever-dynamic citadel.

Located at Jaffa Gate in the Old City, hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday 10:00 to 16:00; Saturday 10:00 to 16:00. For additional information please visit their website: or contact them at 02 – 626-5310.


The L.A. Mayer Memorial Museum for Islamic Art

The L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art is home to one of the world's best institutions devoted to the appreciation of Islamic art. The Islamic Art Museum focuses not only on art itself, but on illuminating the Islamic cultural milieu which produced the art – which ranges from ceremonial daggers to elaborate tiles to sculptures. Unconnected, but also interesting, is a large collection of antique timepieces. The museum also houses a kosher dairy restaurant.

Located on Hapalmach St. #2, the museum is open: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 to 15:00; Tuesday 10:00 to 18:00; Friday 10:00 to 14:00; Saturday 10:00 to 14:00. For more information please visit their website at: or contact them at 02 – 566-1291.


Ammunition Hill

Ammunition Hill (Givat Hatachmoshet), between the modern neighborhoods of Ramat Eshkol and French Hill, was the site of some of the 1967 Six Day War's bloodiest fighting, as a contingent of Israeli paratroopers vied to oust entrenched Jordanian legionnaires in order to link central Jerusalem with the Israeli enclave on Mount Scopus. Today Ammunition Hill houses the main Jerusalem induction center for new IDF recruits, an extensive museum and the well-preserved trenches and fortifications from the battle itself. The museum covers the events surrounding the battle in depth, including a rousing documentary film offered in both Hebrew and English, but it also includes exhibits on armed Jewish resistance to Nazi oppression in Europe. There are several memorials, many still lined with fresh wreaths, to the young men who died during the campaign for Jerusalem in 1967. Hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday 8:00 to 18:00; Friday 8:00 to 14:00. For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 582- 8442.


Ariel Center for Jerusalem in the First Temple Period at Yad Ben-Zvi

The Center is dedicated to exploring and preserving Jerusalem's history during the First Temple Period. It is situated in the Jewish Quarter of The Old City. Its exhibits include a model of the entire city of Jerusalem in the shadow of the Temple, reproductions of famous archaeological discoveries, and its own display of First Temple artifacts. Several unique programs can also be taught by the museum's guides. The museum prefers that visits be coordinated in advance. Hours of operation are Sunday to Thursday 9:00 to 16:00; Friday 9:00 to 13:00. For more information, please visit their website at: or contact them at 02 – 628-6288.


Armenian Museum

The Armenian Museum, located off the Armenian Quarter's main road, offers a fascinating glimpse of the development of Jerusalem's Armenian community and of the city itself. Hours of operation: Every day 9:30 to 16:30. For additional information you may contact them at 02 – 628-2331.


Bible Lands Museum

The Bible Lands Museum's exhibits are comprised entirely of a collection that focuses not only on the history of ancient Israel itself, but offers a broad perspective on the history of the ancient Near East and how its many peoples alternately clashed and cooperated for over 2,000 years. The museum often hosts special exhibits and events on the culture and history of the ancient world. Located next to The Israel Museum, the Bible Lands Museum is open Sunday to Tuesday, Thursday 9:30 to 17:30; Wednesday 9:30 to 21:30; Friday and Holiday eves 9:30 to 14:00. For more information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 561- 1066.


Jerusalem Artists House

The Artists House hosts a rotating panel of exhibits featuring the finest in young Israeli art, career retrospectives of established artists, and international collaborations. The exhibits especially focus on displaying the talents of Jerusalem's own artistic prodigies. Hours of operation are: Sunday to Thursday 10:00 to 13:00 and 16:00 to 19:00; Friday 10:00 to 13:00; Saturday 11:00 to 14:00. For further information please visit their website at: or contact them at 02 – 625-3653.


Museum on the Seam

The Museum on the Seam is devoted to modern art that addresses strife, war and conflict resolution. The "Seam" in question is one imbued with multiple meanings; the museum's building is located on Highway One, which was constructed over the boundary that formerly separated Israeli Jerusalem from Jordanian Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, and also straddles the division between an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Jerusalem neighborhood and Arab Jerusalem today. The museum's exhibits are culled from artists worldwide and include everything from sculpture to graffiti to film. Hours of operation are: Sunday to Thursday 9:00 to 17:00; Friday 9:00 to 13:00. For more information please visit their website: or contact them at 02 – 628- 1278.


The Ticho House

The Ticho House, located in a stately building off Jaffa Road, was home to Avraham and Anna Ticho. Avraham opened an eye clinic there in 1912 for Jerusalem's Jewish and Arab citizens, and his wife Anna painted the rocky, olive tree-studded hills surrounding the city. The Ticho House is home to a gallery of Anna's paintings, Avraham's chanukiyah (Chanukah menorah) collection, and a library stocked with books on the city of Jerusalem. Cultural events, including concerts and poetry readings, are often hosted there. Hours of operation are: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 to 17:00; Tuesday 10:00 to 22:00; Friday 10:00 to 14:00. For more information please visit their website at: or contact them at



The Rockefeller Archaeological Museum

The opening of Palestine to Europeans led to one undeniable triumph for modern civilization: the discovery and study of thousands upon thousands of antiquities from one of the world's most historically rich areas. The Rockefeller Museum in east Jerusalem stands as testament to that bounty; dating from the Mandatory period, the architecturally impressive museum is stocked with hundreds of artifacts archaeologists unearthed from multiple sites in Palestine during the British Mandate. Hours of operation are: Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 to 15:00; Saturday and Holidays 10:00 to 14:00; Tuesday and Friday closed. For additional information please visit their website at: or contact them at 02-670-8011.


IV.Unique Outdoor Activities


Jerusalem is home to many outdoor activities that play out against the historical backdrop of this eternal city. The first three listed below, The International Kite Festival, The International Arts and Crafts Fair, and the Summer Events at the Biblical Zoo, take place in August. The cooler temperatures of March offer a chance for more strenuous activity, when the Jerusalem Half Marathon is held, while the Botanical Gardens are open year-round. Following is a brief explanation and information for each of these events and locales.


The International Kite Festival

The 21st International Kite Show – the Afifoniada – takes place at the Israel Museum in August. Besides colorful swarms of paper and other aerially adaptable materials,


the event also includes workshops, food and entertainment – all at the Israel Museum’s Sculpture Garden. For additional information please visit the following website: or phone them at 02-6708811.


The International Arts and Crafts Fair – Hutsot Hayotser

Also in August, the International Arts and Crafts Fair, Hutsot Hayotser, is held at the Sultan's Pool, opposite the Tower of David at the foot of the Old City Walls. The Fair, which has been held for more than thirty years, has become a tradition in Jerusalem and the largest tourist attraction of the Jerusalem summer season. The Fair is open every evening (except Fridays) from 18:00 – 23:00 and Saturday from one hour after the end of the Sabbath until midnight. For additional information please visit the following website:



Summer Events at the Biblical Zoo

In addition to the ongoing guided feeding tours and petting areas, throughout the summer months on the spacious lawn of the zoo there are ethnic music concerts each afternoon. At night, guided tours of small groups can explore the nocturnal patterns of the zoo's animal residents. For additional information please visit their website at


The Jerusalem Half Marathon

Held each year, the Jerusalem Half Marathon sees runners from all over the world compete on a course that takes in some of the city's most famous sights. In addition to the 21km (13 miles) Half Marathon, runners can also opt for the shorter 10km (6.2 mile) Fun Run. Spectators line the route and both runs start and finish at Givat Ram's stadium. Hundreds of dedicated runners come each year to Jerusalem to run through its magnificent scenery and enjoy its impressive history, ambience and heritage. For additional information please visit their website at or contact them at the following email:


Botanical Gardens

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has provided Jerusalem residents with an opportunity to appreciate the abundant flora of the Middle East and the world at large by establishing the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. The gardens sprawl across several acres near the university's Givat Ram campus close to central Jerusalem, gathering an impressive collection of plants from the four corners of the world. The gardens, built into a terraced hill, are split into botanical regions, including Middle Eastern plants, North American plants, African plants, European plants, tropical plants and much more. Hours of operation are: Sunday to Thursday 7:00 to 16:00; Friday 7:00 to 15:00. For more information please visit their website at or contact them at 02 – 679-4012.





Arguably Jerusalem's finest cinematic experience, the Cinematheque boasts a large screen, great sound and plush seating. This is the place to catch underground and non- Hollywood movies, as well as classics, old favorites and themed presentations. The venue hosts the Jerusalem Film Festival every summer. The Cinematheque's monthly


newsletter lists all of the upcoming films, plus information on special events and festivals. For additional information please visit their website at or phone them at 02 – 565-4333.


Lev Smadar

A small and endearing theater tucked away in the German Colony, the Lev screens one artsy movie at a time. But what makes the Smadar really special are the café and bar situated in the lobby. Not many movie houses offer beer on tap next to the popcorn machine. You may visit their website at or phone them at

02 – 561-8168.


Jerusalem Theatre Cinema

The smaller of the Jerusalem Theatre's many halls are transformed into screening rooms on nights when the performing arts go on hiatus. The venue, also known as the Jerusalem Centre for the Performing Arts, feels more like a cultural institution than a multiplex - since that's what it is. The movies shown here are slightly less mainstream than those screened in Malcha or Talpiot, although Hollywood isn't avoided completely. For more information please visit their website at www.jerusalem- or phone them at 02 – 560-5755.


Cinema City


Cinema City Jerusalem, which opened the end of February 2014, is the largest entertainment and cultural center in Jerusalem measuring in at 20,000 square meters and including eight floors, 19 movie theaters, including themed theaters, an indoor mall with dozens of restaurants, cafes and stores, a theater for plays, a hall for conferences, a cinema museum and many other attractions.


This huge complex is conveniently located in close proximity to the government offices in Jerusalem and thoroughfares at the entrance of the city. It has five floors of 2,000 underground parking spaces which are free for movie-goers. Two hundred and fifty million shekels (around $71US) has been invested in this project.


The 19 movie theaters include some set up in different styles based on film genres, for example theaters designed in the theme of children’s movies, romantic comedies and horror films. There is also a theater for plays which seats up to 600, a performance hall with 450 seats and two VIP halls.


As part of the overall concept of Cinema City, the passageways to the theaters include a variety of attractions including a “Bible City,” a museum of Jewish cinema, an interactive hall of the “Jewish Journey,” a Smurfs’ Village, a car city and in indoor mall.


The official website of the Jerusalem Municipality:


The websites listed above provided information for the material presented here.