Last year’s Passover broke Israeli tourism records. 1.5 million tourists flew in and out of Ben Gurion Airport, a record number of tourists visited and more Israelis than ever flew out to spend Pesach abroad. Who could have predicted that Israel’s borders would be closed for Passover 2020 and that this year Israelis would not only be forbidden from travelling, but confined to their homes?
No industry has been hit harder by the coronavirus crisis than tourism: hotels shuttered, the airport empty, and tourists sites vacant. Equally, Israeli families find themselves with time on their hands. Yet, with a little creativity, you can entertain your family and support Israeli tourism by bringing some of the excitement, fun and beauty that their sites offer into your home. By thinking outside the box, innovative Israeli businesses are bringing their talent to you using the wonders of internet with remote virtual tours and deliveries of workshops and experiences they offer.
There are awesome kits you can buy (for your own family or you can treat your relatives and friends in Israel) and free live tours for everyone!
The Soap Cake Factory has put together awesome soap-making kits that can be delivered to your door. This is a timely home workshop – it helps with hygiene and keeps everyone busy for a while. You can order your kit here. They now also have Passover giftboxes available.
Hadara’s Ceramic Studio is a wonderful place to visit but since that’s off the cards for the foreseeable future, they have created incredible clay packages on sale which are great for the whole family and it comes with a video tutorial. Delivery can be made outside of Jerusalem if a few friends all buy and order enough kits together. More information here.
SoosVeAgala Carpentry Workshop – SoosVeAgala is a quant family run carpentry workshop in Kadima. It provides hours of entertainment for children (and adults)! Their hand crafted beautiful toys come as kits, ready to build and paint! They are offering free delivery in the Sharon area, including Raanana, Kfar Saba, Tel Mond, Even Yehuda, Netanya and Hadera and only 40 shekel delivery to the rest of Israel.
Kids bored at home? Who doesn’t love making cookies. Kosher Cakery has awesome cookie and cupcake decorating kits – great entertainment and delicious too!! And if you’re outside of Israel but want to show some love to your family in Israel, you can also order. Click here to for more.
Pastry chef Elana Kagan has created The BakeBox subscription (Kosher Mehadrin Teuda) to help people get through this period. This is a fun and interactive activity for kids and adults alike. It keeps the kids from the screen and teaches them some important skills such as self-esteem, math, patience, and following instructions, among others. Each week a new box arrives with a new recipe, all the ingredients are included as well as some specialty tools that you may need. You can sign up here.
Paint Parties! This one works for kids and adults. Nina has many virtual paint party workshops running for all ages and even adult parties in the evenings (bring your own wine!) Click here for details and to book.You can also buy complete kits for your paint party to be delivered to your home. Here’s an image of my 8 year old daughter doing one this week.You can also arrange private virtual birthday parties and smachot this way too.
Keramikli is a great pottery (and more) painting studio in Beit Shemesh. As you can’t go to them, they have created fabulous kits available for purchase. You could even make a whole set of Passover ceramics from the comfort of your own home! Click here for details. A sweet touch – Keramikli is offering a special gift of a free paint-at-home kit for anyone celebrating a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
Paint by numbers and other great hobby kits – check out lots of art activities for to choose from and do from your own home.
Enter your art into the LoveLoveIsrael online Art Show – The Art Show is open to anyone, for all ages and abilities and will be open for free virtual tours soon. Your artwork should celebrate Israel – whether it is of places, memories or special moments, using any media. You can sculpt, paint, graffiti, cartoon, collage…you name it. Just send a high quality image of your art (you can submit as many as you wish) to email@example.com to participate in the exhibition. Remember to include your name, (age if relevant) and title of your creation.
Quarantine 2020 – This is an innovative scavenger style game by the creators of Israel Scaventure. They are running games throughout this period, including over Pesach and even Yom Haatzmaut. This is fun, will provide hours of entertainment, and most importantly reconnect you to other people in your neighborhood, city, country and all around the world!
Can’t get to historic sites to visit them? Let them come to you with virtual museum tours!
The ancient City of David – Until they can open their doors once again, the City of David are bringing Jerusalem to you with free premium content including family-friendly, inspiring and educational content such as virtual tours, short videos on the history of Jerusalem and archaeological discoveries, coloring pages, riddles and more. Click here and enjoy!
The Biblical Museum of Natural History is offering tours of their new museum building exclusively for a very special type of person: those who can’t come! Their live online 50-minute programs are perfect for people who are unable to physically visit, and an ideal solution for the coronavirus lockdown. All you need is an internet connection. They will give you interactive tours of museum exhibits, during which you will be able to ask questions. It’s the next best thing to actually visiting: Click here to head to their site – there is a minimal fee for the tours.
The Museum of the Jewish People/Beit Hatfutsot in Tel Aviv, is offering a live virtual tour and a number of engaging activities for families during this period. The daily live virtual tour for groups of up to 50 people (via Zoom) explores their permanent exhibit including historic synagogues and artifacts from around the world, complemented by photo activities, family tree building and genealogy databases, photos from Jewish all over the world, and more. You can discover more by clicking here.
Saidels Jewish Baking Institute is going live from Monday March 30th until April 7th. Master baker, Les Saidel is offering wonderful FREE live sessions all about baking, with Q&A sessions, Crazy Baking Science and a Bakery tour!!! From 9:30am live at this link.
Museum and workshop owners are teaching online tutorials so that you can still take part in activities they would otherwise host.
There is a wonderful free live paint tutorial on the Paint Party Facebook page. Click here to access it. All you need are some colors/paints, paper or canvas, paintbrushes, water and an hour of time!
This is an awesome arts and crafts studio called Adido in Beit Shean. The wonderful Adi is producing a live Facebook video every day at 10:00, called ‘Omer and Shachar’s Craft studio’ where together with her two young sons, they create wonderful things using items you have at home! Very cute…and a great way for your children to hear some Hebrew! Also the live videos stay up on the page so you can go back and do them whenever you want. Click here for the page. Click here for an example!
Click here and check out Tel Aviv Art Studio, offering daily free online tutorials for art with your children. They also have art kits available. Click here for a LIVE on how to make edible playdough!
Here are some useful additional links:
Don’t forget to share YOUR best ideas in the comments. Here’s to helping Israeli tourism get through this and keeping us all engaged and enjoying Israel even while at home!