Home > Uncategorized > I Need a Secret Decoder Ring for April Holidays in Israel

I Need a Secret Decoder Ring for April Holidays in Israel

As we prepare for packing, shipping, and traveling home, we do so while navigating a virtual minefield of Israeli holidays in the next few weeks. It’s official that our last day in the office will be 25 April, but the days leading up to that will be eventful.

Liam with his Pesach set from school which included a kiddush cup and little baby Moses in a basket.

An email from our relocation service attempts to demystify:

  • Passover – 6 April: shopping centers and supermarkets will close around 3pm and re open on the 8th
  • The second night of Passover is celebrated on 12th April , meaning commercial centers and stores will close at around 3pm and re-open on the 15th .
  • Holocaust Memorial day – 19 April: On the eve of 18 April, all restaurants places of recreation, supermarkets and shopping centers will close at 7pm and re open the next day. On the 19th at 10am , there will be a 2 minute siren where the entire population stands in silence to commemorate the 6,000,000 Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazi’s .
  • Day of Remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism and Independence Day – 24-26 April: On 24 April, the eve of the Day of Remembrance, from 6pm , all restaurants, places of recreation, supermarkets and shops will close until the next morning in remembrance of the soldiers of Israel soldiers killed in wars . At 8pm there will be a 1 minute siren indicating the beginning of memorial day and on 25 April at 11am a 2 minute siren will be heard around the country and once again, the population stands for two minutes of solemn silence . During the entire day, there are ceremonies at cemeteries and both TV and radio programs play music and interview families of victims etc. On the evening of the 25th, the atmosphere changes and the sunset heralds the beginning of the…
  • Independence Day celebrations with street parties, parades, musical performances etc. 26 April is a public holiday and this is characterized by lots of barbeques in every possible open area of the country, so go out and enjoy!!!

Wow. Did you get all that? Do we have timing issues or what?

Not only to we have to empty out our apartment in preparation to leave, but we have to avoid  being out of food when restaurants will be closed. Oy!

But wait–there’s more!

In the weeks leading up to Pesach (Passover) you can see the preparations beginning. You can read all about ridding your home of chametz at Operation Zero Chametz. In short, this is the time that observant Jews rid their homes of chametz in preparation to become kosher-for-Passover. From 6-15 April  no chametz can be consumed. Instead matzo (matzah) meal is substituted. If you are a gentile living in Israel this means that generally bread, pasta, beer, granola, and other obvious grains are not available in stores. (This might be the right time to start a low-carb diet.) These items can still be found in non-kosher stores such as Tiv Taam or Arab-owned establishments. Non-kosher restaurants will remain open.

But these things take time. It’s one thing to rid your entire house of (literally) every crumb of chametz. Imagine getting an entire grocery store ready. As far as I can tell this process started in our neighborhood grocery on Sunday. When I walked into the store I thought the dairy case was broken. The entire case was empty with employees frantically working on it. When I saw that the pastry case in the bakery was getting the same treatment I realized what was happening. The next day the pastry case was filled with specialty cheeses. This has continued, section by section, throughout the week. Guess what happened when I tried to buy ice cream yesterday? I was a sad panda.

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