After the end of the Hebrew Book Week, which saw events only in three major cities, Israel's Reading Month will begin Sunday and is set to include events in the periphery as well.
The Hebrew Book Week, which ended on Saturday, featured book fairs only in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion because of a dispute between the Book Publishers Association and the Culture Ministry over the budget for the events in the periphery.
Culture Minister Miri Regev decided to hold additional events as part of the Israel Reading Month, which the ministry has been holding for eight years, to the tune of NIS 3.75 million.
Reading Month events, starting June 25 and running until July 20, will be held in 60 cities and towns across Israel and in the West Bank, including Migdal, Katzrin, Eshkol, Kiryat Ekron, Yavne'el, Tirat Carmel, Gan Raveh, Or Akiva, Har Hebron, Kedumim, Ma'ale Adumim, Safed, Arad, Bat Yam, Beit Shean, Ofakim, among others.
Among the planned activities are book fairs, children's plays, meetings with authors and musical events. Authors scheduled to participate in events include Amos Oz, Yokhi Brandes, Zvi Nir, Haggai Linik, Ephraim Sidon, Jonathan Yavin and Anat Lev-Adler.
The book fairs will be held from 5:30pm to 9:30pm and include performances for the entire family. Bambola, a puppet theater, will put on different shows including "Peter Pan," "The Miller's Daughter" and "Walnut Gets Lost in the Forest." The Children's Theater will put on "The Emperor's New Clothes," "A Lion in the Library," "My Home" and others.
Among the different children's plays is a show called "A Moment Before Sleep," where children and their parents can come dressed in their pajamas, spread out on mattresses and pillows and watch a performance including lullabies and bedtime stories, which will be screened on the ceiling. The show will be held at community centers across the country (in Elkana, Ramat Gan, Ma'alot, and Ashkelon among others) and feature actors Israel Gurion, Miki Kam, Lillian Barto and Jackie Levy and be hosted by children's entertainer Julie and the Guitar.
Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem and Hatikva Market in Tel Aviv will host a musical performance titled "Songs from the Neighborhood," featuring songs from the 1970s and 1980s. This year's performance will be dedicated to the musician Ahuva Ozeri, who wrote some of the songs featured. Other participants include Shai Tsabari, Shir Levi, Margalit Tzan'ani and Daklon.
Synagogues such as Ohavay Zion in Jerusalem, Beit Yaakov in Afula, Heikhal Rakhamim in Givat Shmuel and others will feature a performance by musician Shuli Rand with poet Ilan Damari, which includes stories, songs and tales from synagogue life. Music will be provided by Jewish folk band Oy Division.
This year's events will put a spotlight on Israeli poetry and include an event titled "Singing on the Bar," featuring singers Ester Rada and Gilad Kahana and poets Ofir Masharki and Shlomi Hatuka. The performance will be held June 28 in Ezuz, July 10 in Ramat HaSharon, and later in Haifa, Misgav and Acre.
"I'm proud to launch the events of the Culture and Sport Ministry's Reading Month," Regev said. "As we promised, we are expanding the traditional Reading Month events to a giant celebration with over 50 book fairs across the country. This is another step to give expression to the principles of encouraging reading and the importance of libraries and books for the people of Israel, alongside making culture accessible to all."
More information on all events can be found on the Culture Ministry's website and Facebook page (in Hebrew).