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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 7, Hachag Shel Hachagim or "The Holiday of Holidays" festival
Haifa - חיפה (chai-fa) is the third largest city in Israel, in terms of population. It’s located in the north of the country, and the city has a mixed population comprised of Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Every year, three weekends in December are dedicated to a festival celebrating the city’s diversity.
The festival is called the “Holiday of Holidays” החג של החגים (Hachag Shel Ha-chagim).
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
When was the festival held for the first time?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
The festival is called the “Holiday of Holidays”, because it celebrates the three religious holidays in the month of December—the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, the Christian holiday of Christmas, and the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha or “איד אל-אדחא” (Id el adcha). The festival was created by the Haifa municipality and the Beit Gefen Arab Jewish Cultural Center, with the aim of promoting tolerance and mutual respect between people of different religions, through art and culture. Every year, people from around the country visit the festival—young people, adults, and families that come to participate in a colorful festival of art, music, theater, literature, and more.
Many artists from Israel and abroad participate in the festival, where all types of artwork are on display. The festival hosts concerts, children’s shows, street performances, visual art exhibits, an antiques fair, and more. Museums - מוזיאונים (Mu-ze-o-nim) don’t charge entrance fees during the festival, and tours are conducted all over the city.
Festival activities occur at different sites in the city, but most are held in the neighborhoods of Wadi Nisnas and the German Colony, where Arabs and Jews live side by side. The festival invites residents and visitors to do crafts together. 2014, for example, featured events like a workshop for creating holiday cards, the creation of a communal mosaic -פסיפס (Psi-fas) portraying rocks, plants and people, a swing dance party, holiday processions, and even a special visit to Santa Claus’ house, in the neighborhood of Wadi Nisnas.
Each year, a different theme is chosen for the festival, which participating artists use as inspiration for their creations. The theme chosen for the last festival was “the wisdom of the masses” - חכמת ההמונים (Chochmat ha-hamonim).
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
In what year was the first festival held?
The “holiday of holidays” festival was held for the first time in Haifa in 1993. 2015 will be the 23rd annual festival, and people hope to enjoy many more years of art, bringing people together, and encouraging partnerships between residents.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Which different cultures coexist in your country?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!