Tel Aviv prepares to host hundreds of Shabbat meals for Eurovision visitors
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Tel Aviv prepares to host hundreds of Shabbat meals for Eurovision visitors

As Israel's cosmopolitan coastal city gets ready for the annual singing competition, the local authority's Shabbat Dinner Project hopes to welcome tourists with open arms

White Shabbat, Tel Aviv 2014 (Credit: Kfir Bolotin)
White Shabbat, Tel Aviv 2014 (Credit: Kfir Bolotin)

Tel Aviv families are preparing to host hundreds of traditional Shabbat dinners for first-time visitors to Israel next month, as the partygoers head to the country’s cosmopolitan centre for the Eurovision Song Contest.

The Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality’s Shabbat Dinner Project is encouraging would-be hosts to sign up to share their Jewish tradition at sunset on Friday 17th May ahead of the competition’s Saturday finale.

Organisers will match tourists to hosts, taking account of any religious or cultural background, promising “a unique immersive experience with a home-cooked meal while learning about Jewish traditions that have been observed for centuries”.

They said the project continues growing travel trend of “experiential tourism” whereby visitors aim to immerse themselves in the local culture.

“We are working hard in order to make sure that the Eurovision Song Contest will be an unforgettable experience for everyone, including the local residents,” said Ron Huldai, the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo.

“This is one of the many ways to connect the thousands of tourists to Tel Aviv families and introduce them to the wonderful Jewish tradition of Shabbat in Israel. I already told my wife Yael not to make plans that Friday because we will be cooking!”

In addition to a Shabbat dinner for up to six guests, tourists can also choose to attend a “communal pot-luck dinner” at community centres around the city.

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