A Preview on the Sukkot Festival 'Ramla Ir Olam 2'
Updated: May 6
I was invited to join a preview tour of the 'Ramla Ir Olam 2' festival that is going to take place in Sukkot. The festival is called in Hebrew 'Ramla Ir Olam 2' meaning 'Ramla, City of the World no.2' since it is the second time it is taking place. It turns out the Ramla is a hub for immigrants serving as a home to immigrants from over 90 countries. The 'Ramla Ir Olam' festival celebrates the diversity of the population allowing each community to share its unique culture, traditions and authentic dishes.
The festival will take place during Chol Hamoed Sukkot 25-27 Sept 2018 between 11:00-23:00. Most of the events are free. Some have a symbolic fee.
Our trip took us to the main locations hosting the events.
Trip Agenda Options
A Food Tour in Ramla's Market
A Visit to the Bukhara Community Synagogue and Golden Age Club Beit Tziona
The White Mosque
A Bukhari and Uzbek Lunch
the Ethiopian 'Tabeja Center' in Ramla
The 'Pool of the Arches'
Ramla's market is a wonderful place to taste a bit of the ethnic diversity year-round. Our food tour started off with a Tunisian sandwich at Haim Bukubeza's stall at 2 Ester Ha'Malka St. consisting of freshly made potato salad, fresh vegetable salad, tuna fish, a hardboiled egg, his red pepper sauce, pickled lemons and olives, all homemade based on his family recipes and all stuffed into a fresh baguette.
We then went on to sample some of Baba Haim's Turkish Burekas at 3 Jabotinsky St. with Ayran Yoghurt and fresh lemonade. The burekas are all baked fresh in his ovens with potato, cheese and spinach fillings and sesame or poppy toppings. The lemonade is served cold using his unique ladling system.
Out last stop was at Carmel Shevo, Chairman of the Market Committee's delicatessen at 15 Jabotinsky St. where we were served a Mediterranean style platter of cheeses with Georgian, Bulgarian and Tzfat cheeses and olives.
The Ramla Musuem
The Ramla Museum is located in a historic building built in 1922 that served as Ramla's municipality during the British Mandate. The museum displays exhibits pertaining to the history of Ramla since its establishment in the 8th century till today. The permanent exhibition includes a rare finding of gold dinars and ingots found buried near the 'White Mosque'. The coins were minted throughout the Islamic reign. All written materials including plaques are available in English.
The Bukhara Community Synagogue and 'Beit Tziona' Golden Age Club
The synagogue and 'Beit Tziona' gave us a first taste of the ethnic groups that will be presenting their culture during the festival. At 'Beit Tziona' we were welcomed by the community's choir who prepared some songs for us and at the synagogue we heard some of the prayer tunes. There will be two main locations where each of the communities display their traditions. One will be near the municipality building and one near the 'White Mosque'.
The White Mosque
The 'White Mosque' is a historic building originally built in the 8th century and repaired twice during the 12 century by Salah ad-Din and again by the Mamluks in the 13-14th centuries. Its 30-meter tower was originally used either as a Minaret or as an observation tower and till this day offers a wonderful panoramic view of Gush Dan. The climb includes 105 steps.
The tower will serve as a focal point for several of the festival activities. One of the major family attractions will start every day at 16:00 onwards at the foot of the 'White Mosque' where street performer such as clowns, musicians, live statues and circus performers will gather and later on in the evening live performances will take place. On the first day, a large parade of all the local city bands in their ethnic clothes with large dolls, drummers and stilt walkers will walk by the tower. Yahoram Gaon and Sarit Hadad will perform near the 'White Mosque' on the second night.
A Bukhari and Uzbek Lunch
The festival is a culinary celebration of ethnic delights. Food from the Bokharan, Uzbek, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Iraqi, Indian, Latin-America and other cuisines will be available for purchase at symbolic prices at food stalls set up near the 'White Mosque'. Also, restaurants throughout the city will be offering their own specials. Dishes that we sampled included fhe following:
Uzbek salads: carrot, cabbage, eggplant, beet, salsa and fresh vegetables.
Bukhari main dishes such as:
Oshpelo - a mix of beef and lamb with rice, onions and arrots
Bachsh - a rice dish that is green from seasoning, mainly coriander
Sambusak - a meat pastry
Bukahra Carp - a carp fish seasoned with garlic, onion and coriander
Manato - a meat pastry
Vegetarian Manato - a pastry with pumpkin
Chiburik - a meat pastry
Uzbek Pastries such as:
Chack Chack - a festive Uzbek pastry
Laves - a sweet made of almonds, other nuts and sugar
The Ethiopian Tabeja Center
The Ethiopian community center 'Tabeja' has a permanent exhibition on life in Ethiopia, which they use for educational purposes year round. In the community center, we learned about the coffee making tradition and saw some traditional Ethiopian dances performed by the 'Ima Adama' dance group. All will be displayed to the public during the festival in the section allocated to their community.
The Pool of Arches
I actually wrote about the pool of arches in my previous post on Ramla. During the festival, tours of the historic sites of the city will take place every day between 8:30-13:00 starting from the 'Pool of the Arches'. For reservations call 08-9292650 or use the English website.
Credit for left photo: Beni Davidpoor
I'll conclude by sharing the municipality's video from last year's festival, which will give you an idea of what it's like. When I saw it, I realized just how incredible this festival really is. Who knows, if you come, maybe you'll see me there!
FOR FESTIVAL DETAILS AND RESERVATIONS:
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