Food journalist Michal Ansky tells T+L how Hanukkah and Christmas are celebrated throughout the Holy Land.
Stroll the Old City: “Jerusalem is holy year-round, but the atmosphere during Hanukkah is truly special. I love to walk from Zion Gate to Jaffa Gate, stopping for a view of the Western Wall and the golden Dome of the Rock at the Aish HaTorah Center (1 Western Wall Plaza; 972-2/628-5666).”
Take a Cooking Lesson: “During Hanukkah season, pastry chef Eran Schwarzbard offers workshops specializing in traditional and contemporary holiday recipes at Shuk HaNamal (Tel Aviv Hangar 12, Tel Aviv Port), an indoor farmers’ market facing the Mediterranean.”
Attend a Church Service: “As home to Tel Aviv’s Christian Arab population, the Jaffa district has many churches. Christmas Mass at St. Peter’s Church (1 Mifratz Shlomo St.; 972-3/682-2871)—originally built on the site of a medieval citadel in 1654—is the most atmospheric and elegant in town.”
Eat Latkes: “My family and I love preparing classic Hanukkah recipes, including latkes, or lightly fried potato pancakes. The sweet-potato latkes from Orna & Ella (33 Shenkin St., Tel Aviv; 972-3/525-2085; latkes for two $10)—though sweeter than the classics—are a winner.”
Go on a Weekend Side Trip: “Galilee—an easy two-hour drive north of Tel Aviv—has many sites that are special for Jews and Christians. My favorite holy spot is the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes, located in the biblical site of Tabgha. The shrine dates to the fourth century A.D. You can take a lake tour that follows in the steps of Jesus.” —David Kaufman