There’s nothing in the world like being in Jerusalem for Chol HaMoed Pesach. It sometimes seems like the whole Jewish world, past, present, and future, are converging on the Holy City for an experience that transcends history, location, or any sort of economic sense.
Janglo has put together this guide of just about everything you’ll need to know for Pesach 2018. We’ll be updating it more as we get closer to the chag, so make sure to bookmark this page!
Whether you’ll be visiting Jerusalem this Pesach for your first visit to Israel, or you’ve lived here for 50 years, you’ll find this list helpful and interesting. We’ll start with the logistics of getting ready for Pesach, and then move on to food and fun for the holiday. Our list of top recommended events for Chol Hamoed is at the bottom of the page.
CLEANING: When I think of Pesach cleaning when I was growing up, I remember a lot of crying in the house. Yes, we kids hated it, but even more miserable were my parents, subjecting themselves to a more back-breaking cleaning regimen than even Pharaoh would have tried. Nowadays, there is a greater recognition that many people go too far, and a quick search online will give you a wide variety of halachic articles with titles like “How to clean for Pesach in one day.” (In fairness, I once saw a mommy blog post entitled “Only a man would say that you can clean for Pesach in one day.” Touché.)
If you want to hire a cleaner before Pesach, well, you better act quickly, because many of them are already booked solid. Check Janglo’s directory of cleaners and start calling around.
APARTMENT RENTALS: Ditto for your lodging. Hotels and vacation rental agents live for this season, and holiday apartments in Jerusalem can be very pricey. Before you check Airbnb, make sure to look on Janglo’s Vacation Rentals Listing for hundreds of flats available all over town.
KAYTANA: If your kids are going crazy in the house while you are trying to clean, send them to Pesach Kaytanot and Workshops @ The Open Studio Sunday through Wednesday.
MUSIC: To get into the mood, check out 30+ of our favorite Pesach Videos.
SELLING CHAMETZ: You can sell Chametz at many shuls, as well as online. Your options online include the Israel Rabbinate’s official site for selling Chametz, and also Chabad .
BURNING CHAMETZ: Friday morning, March 30, fires will be burning in parks, parking lots, and street corners everywhere. Make sure to follow Safety and Health Tips for Pesach From United Hatzalah.
Also, please note that The Jerusalem Municipality asks residents to remove scrap and unusual waste between this Tuesday, March 20, and Tuesday, March 27, in order to help the city’s sanitation arrangements run smoothly before the Pesach holiday.
SEDER HOSPITALITY: No one should have to be alone seder night. That’s why Keep Olim organizes its No Oleh Alone program to match you up with great families in your area for one of the most special experiences of the year. Register to host or be hosted at here.
If you are near the Baka neighborhood, you may want to Join Chabad of Baka for their Five Star Community Passover Seder. There is also the Community Passover Seder by Yiboneh.
Here’s a great list of resources and ebooks for the Seder.
“Buying Kosher for Pesach food in Israel- what could be simpler than that?” -Said nobody ever.
We’re not even going to try to tell you what you should and shouldn’t look out for on Pesach. Just know that whether or not you eat Kitniyot, or Gebrucht, or line your kitchen with aluminum foil, we love you however you are. Here are a few resources that can help you be more educated consumers whatever your family traditions are:
RESTAURANTS: Here is eLuna’s list of Kosher for Pesach restaurants around Israel. Make sure you also check out Beteavone.com for its list and coupons.
WINE: Kfar HaYayin in Kfar Etzion is having a “try before you buy” festival through Pesach, with free tastings happening all day every day. Check it out.
KASHRUT: The OU has great information in English here.
MEDICINES: Here is Meuhedet’s list of Kosher for Pesach medications.
BUYING MATZA: Regular and Shmura matza can be found in nearly every grocery store. You’ll be bombarded with ads for specialty shmura matza orders from your favorite rabbis and organizations as well.
Soft matza, which looks more like a pita than a cracker, and is what most Jews called matza for most of history, is becoming more available and popular in Israel. I haven’t seen it sold in bulk, but here’s a friend who makes and sells soft matza out of his house.
SECOND DAY MINYANS: Most minyans around Israel are geared for Israelis keeping one day, but you can find second-day minyans and second seders in many hotels. We’ll share more info when we find it.
ENJOYING THE HOLIDAY
Pesach in Jerusalem is really an incredible experience, and chol hamoed is packed with non-stop activities in every corner.Pesach in Jerusalem is really an incredible experience, and chol hamoed is packed with non-stop activities in every corner.
Make sure you check Janglo’s events calendar for a huge listing of events for every day of Pesach and all year round. Here are some of our top picks:
Birkat Cohanim: The Western Wall Plaza fills with tens of thousands of people in the semi-annual priestly blessing, on the second day of Chol HaMoed. That will be Monday, April 2. Shacharit begins 8:30AM, the first blessing is 9:15, and the second blessing around 10AM.
Free Museums: Bank Hapoalim sponsors free admission to dozens of museums around the country all Chol HaMoed long.
Jerusalem’s big kids’ event for the holiday is WiPark, a massive Gymboree amusement park attraction in the Payis Arena. Tickets are available for, um, NIS 70 here. If you like expensive and crowded, this is the place to be. See the video.
The Train Theater in Jerusalem has plays for kids Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday mornings.
This Interactive Experience Honoring Elderly Heroes sounds really interesting. On Emek Refaim, each day.
Expect that food will be expensive everywhere you go. Come prepared with your matza sandwiches, water, sunscreen, and a lot of patience.
Well, that’s a good start. Don’t forget to check back on Janglo as we get closer to Pesach. Chag Sameach!