Chamshushalayim - Jerusalem's Winter Light

With winter weather arriving a bit late this year, Jerusalem hopes their Chamshushalayim winter festival will help herald in the season's cold and rains. Orit Itzik shares some of the three-weekend long festivals many art, culture and cuisine events.

Events at the Old Train Station Plaza in Jerusalem will begin on December 2nd. This year’s Chamshushalayim will display highlights of the city’s culture. The festival will herald in winter in the capital for three consecutive weekends in December: 2nd-4th, 9th-11th and 16th-18th.

What is on the program? Culture, art and cuisine in every corner of the city all with a unique flair next to her big sister city in the center to tell all that also in Jerusalem it is possible to celebrate in the dark. Institutions and sites will be open until the wee hours of the night for special viewing. For example at the Museum of the Biblical States, the lights will be dimmed and free tours will take place in the glow of oil lamps. This is the perfect way to see the city in her true aura. Outdoor concerts will also speckle the nights of December. Among others, you can go to Mamelia Boulevard to enjoy the “Jerusalem of above and below” concert with the enchanting voices and melodies.

When we think of Jerusalem, we sometimes forget Ein Karem. It turns out that this neighborhood hides a number of worthy secrets in her midst. Vacation apartments featuring ancient arched walls, a romantic atmosphere seeping out into the entire community and a stunning view are all part of the magic that would be a shame to miss both in sunlight and moonlight. In addition to the pastoral Ein Karem, other areas in the city are offering specials on interesting places to stay the night: discounts on nights in Jerusalem are being offered in a number of hotels including the American Colony, Rimonim, Dan, Shlomo HaMelech and more., “Restaurants in Israel’s” parent site, is participating in Chamshushalayim as well, of course from the culinary angle. We have gathered a number of restaurants in the city and have united them under a similar sale package - special menu items and meals for either 78NIS or 118NIS. We also asked each restaurant to prepare their unique interpretation of the infamous “Jerusalem Soup.” The result is a variety of special soups being offered to you throughout the streets of Jerusalem for only 20 NIS. You can combine these with your meals or taste them on their own. If we are good, these soups might bring with them a bit of the winter we await.

These are just the initial culinary offerings for this year’s Chamshushalayim. Additional restaurants are still joining the festivities and we will update you about additional food-related events and specials throughout the month of December. Of course, the full list of restaurants will be advertised but below you will find a few highlights for pre-release:


The restaurant Lara is a Jerusalem bistro offering Israeli Mediterranean cuisines with a touch of European authenticity: an interesting and unique fusion to say the least. The menu offers a variety of dishes so that every patron can find the choice to fit their desires. The restaurant is situated in a distinctly Jerusalem space, designed to be elegant, warm and inviting, with high ceilings and street lamps for accentuation.

Ein Karem Metukah:

As noted above, Ein Karem is a pastoral and serene area worth giving some attention to. If you are in the area, after lunch or towards evening, try out Ein Karem Metukah (Sweet Ein Karem), a dreamy ice cream and chocolate store. You will discover four different types of pralines as well as a variety of truffles, chocolate-covered dried fruits, wines, spectacular coffee and homemade real ice cream. Ein Karem Metukah also offers chocolate workshops - we recommend signing up for these ahead of time.


One should take a break from walking around the city in Jerusalem to relax in a quiet corner - inside, outside, in the shade of the trees and opposite the candles, with a friend and a table full of drinks. Link is a bar-restaurant and bistro offering a rich menu of meats, fish dishes and pastas for entrees as well as a variety of appetizers, soups, desserts, coffees and daily specials. Of course, they also offer a quality alcohol selection.