Mahane Yehuda Market – A Day at “The Shuk”

One of the most colorful spots in Jerusalem and a must visit for any tourist to the city, is the vibrant Mahane Yehuda Market, or “The Shuk” as they say in Hebrew. Whether you decide to visit it on Friday, its busiest day in the week, or on any other weekday, there are quite a few milestone’s in the market which are a delight for the eye and of course the palate.

Located between Jaffa and Agripas St. “The Shuk” can be easily reached by walking from the bus station or by almost any bus route in Jerusalem. Inside, it is divided by streets named after fruits and has both an open aired area and a covered one.
With over 250 vendors in the market, selling mostly foods from a large variety of Jewish communities from all over the world, even if one plans on simply absorbing the market through his senses, it’s always a good idea to have a list with the market’s finest restaurants and vendors, to make the best out of your day in the market.

Here is a Virtual tour of the Mahane Yehuda Market >>

Marzipan, 44 Agripas St.

Start off just before entering the market at the famous Marzipan bakery. Besides having a name after a delicious almond treat, Marzipan is famous for its sweet pastries dispersing its fragrances from outside the market. If you’re a chocolate lover (and who isn’t?), don’t miss out on their famous chocolate rogalach, yummy.

Uzi-Eli, 10 Ha’egoz St.

Take a right from Agripas St. into the first entrance of the covered market on Ha’egoz St. (Nut St. in Hebrew) and walk until you reach a picturesque juice stand on your right called Uzi-Eli. Uziel the owner, is a cute looking 68 year old man originally from Yemen who’s referred to as “The Dr.” Besides his juices which are said to have unique healing qualities from helping headaches to improving your stamina, the doctor offers creams and sprays as well for the skin and will happily give you your own personal diagnosis.

The Halva Kingdom, 75 Etz Ha’haim St.

Once you get to Hashaked St. (Almond), turn right and then left on Etz Ha’haim St. (Tree of Life) and walk until you see a large halva stand to the left, known as The Halva Kingdom. There you’ll find every kind of sweet tahini and honey mixture you could ever dream of, plus a few baklavas if you have an endless sweet tooth. Make sure to try the excellent King’s Halva and maybe even take a few packs with you back home – where the sweet delight will be even more appreciated.

Ha’agas Ehad, 1 Banay St.

Located in the heart of the market on the old Pear St. (Ha’agas) is Ha’agas Ehad. Although today the street is named Banay St., after Eliyahu Yaakov Banay, one of the four fathers of the famous Banay family in Israel, we can still find on the same spot, the well known fresh vegan cuisine restaurant, Ha’agas Ehad. If at this point of the day your only craving is for a salad, no doubt this place would be your best choice.

Mizrahi, 12 Hashazif St.

Another famous establishment of the market, on Hashazif St. (Plum) parallel to Banay St. is the Mizrahi restaurant. Once a home to a spice stand, today, the daughter of the spice stand owner, runs a family based restaurant called Mizrahi, serving deliciously authentic cuisine on Kerosene stoves.

Mazetim, 11 Hashazif St.

Just across the restaurant, if you’re thinking of eating in, is a great cheese shop called Mazetim, where you can get the best cheeses from all over the country and abroad. Just be careful while walking around the shop, near almost every cheese you can find a few cut squares from it for you to try, not the best for someone on a diet.

Mousseline, 17 Ha’egoz St.

Another thing that’s best to stay away from if on a diet is Mousseline ice-cream shop. Fairly new to the market, back on Ha’egoz St, Mousseline has already managed to get quite a fan base for itself, with hard ice-cream addicts going crazy for their odd but tasty basil grapefruit flavor.

The Iraqi Shuk

After so much eating it might be a good idea to relax a bit and watch others relax as well. The Iraqi part of the market, set in its back is probably a good bet for that. Watch a large group of diverse grandfathers (not only Iraqi) play backgammon and cards, relaxing under the sun, either rain or shine. Try talking to them, if you look naïve enough, they might even let you play with them…

Hachipuria, 6 Eshkol St.

If you become hungry after your backgammon game, take a right when coming out of the Iraqi market just before going back into the shuk, to Eshkol St. There in a Georgian bakery, you can enjoy some yummy Georgian cuisine consisting mostly of cheese and dough. Hachipuria has a large variety of oily dough with cheese but if still on a diet, just take a sip of their local Georgian drink.

Mahneyuda, 10 Beit Ya’akov St.

Oddly enough, the one thing your day out to “The Shuk” won’t be complete without is a visit to a new restaurant just outside the market named Mahneyuda. Run by three of the best chefs that Jerusalem has to offer, Mahneyuda prouds itself in having a different menu everyday, printed daily on recycled paper, that’s decided on according to the catch of the day from the market. With small to main courses set by prices from low to high (only up to 130 NIS per course) on the menu and an open kitchen where you can actually see how the food is made, there’s no wonder one needs to book at least two days in advance to get a table.

The people, the smells, the flavors and the sounds of the bustling market will all boil down as night sets on Jerusalem. At that point you can find yourself going back to your hotel after a crazy but definitely filling day at “The Shuk”.

Guided tour – Masada and the Dead Sea

Departure Date: Daily

Trip Duration: One Day

Trip Schedule: Depart from Jerusalem and drive through the Judean Desert to the vicinity of the Dead Sea. Visit Masada, which was King Herod’s fortress and the last sanctuary of the zealots. The tour will continue along the Dead Sea shore – the lowest point on Earth, until we reach the Ein Gedi Spa for an enjoyable dip in the hot mineral springs, cover our bodies with therapeutic mud and bathe in the mineral-rich waters of the Dead Sea.
Must Bring: Hat/head covering, comfortable walking shoes, bathing suit, towel and sandals.

Please Note: The trip includes a ride in a cable car.

Get the Ticket >>

Guided tour – Jerusalem – Old and New

Departure Date: Daily

Trip Duration: One Day

Trip Schedule: The tour begins at a panoramic observation point overlooking Jerusalem and sets off from there to the Old City, Mount Zion – which features sites holy to the three religions, as well as battle sites – the Cardo (which was the main street during the Roman and Byzantine eras), Via Dolorosa, where Jesus walked on his way to the crucifixion, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall. In the afternoon we will visit Yad Vashem – The Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.

Must Bring: Hat/head cover, comfortable walking shoes.
Please note: Individuals visiting holy sites must wear modest clothing (covered shoulders, pants or long skirts)
Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and holidays; alternative destinations will be visited on these days.

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Abu Gosh Vocal Music Festival – June 2010

Twice a year, during Sukkot and Shavuot, a vocal music festival is held in the ancient monasteries in Abu Gosh. Leading choirs from Israel and around the world participate, bringing with them a wealth of creativity and providing a moving experience for everyone, whether they are classical vocal music aficionados or not. The breadth of colors and voices heard in the monasteries, along with the international musical language. create a unique harmony, providing an experiences for all of your senses. Concerts are also held in the Benedictine Monastery crypt, a charming place under which flows a spring. Opera singers, chamber music ensembles and choirs also perform in the monastery’s lovely garden.

The upcoming festival will take place during 18-22 May and the next during Sukkot, October 6-10, 2010. This year the festival will host the renowned chamber music choir from Stuttgart, conducted by Maestro Frieder Bernius, as well as singers from Israel and around the world, including bass-baritone singer Louis Alberto Fernández Llaneza. The concert program is varied and exciting: Pieces by Bach, Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Theodorakis and South American musicians will be played, and acts featuring audience participation will be performed.

Nabucco Opera production at the foot of Masada

Verdi’s “Jewish” opera, conducted by Daniel Oren, will celebrate its 25th year in a huge, unique production at the foot of Masada on Thursday June 3, 2010 at 10:00 P.M. and Saturday June 5, 2010 at 10:00 P.M.

The operatic weekend will include two performances of Nabucco, Verdi’s “Jewish” opera, depicting the story of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, which features one of opera’s most beloved numbers, the “Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.” This unique production will feature leading international opera singers, the Israel Opera Chorus and the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Letzion. Masada will serve as the production’s stunning backdrop, with sound, light and video effects, surprises and much more.

Jessye Norman:

Legendary soprano singer Jessye Norman, who will be back in Israel after a prolonged absence, will perform on Friday June 4, 2010. She will be accompanied by the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon Letzion and will perform arias from her wide repertoire, as well as folk, soul and gospel songs.

Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem’s Old City

The Hurva Synagogue is located in the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem’s Old City. The synagogue was built in the 18th century, and has gone through many upheavals: It was destroyed by Muslims, rebuilt in the 19th century, destroyed again, and in 1948 – after the Old City was occupied – it was renovated yet again, and it was reopened in March 2010.

A sound and light show is screened on the structure’s eastern wall, surveying the synagogue’s 800-year history (the show is presented free of charge in the evening hours).

The Hurva Synagogue is named after Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid, who headed Poland’s Jewish community in the 18th century. Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid immigrated to the land of Israel, with his students, some 300 years ago, to advance the Messianic Era. The rabbi and his students bought an abandoned plot on which to build a synagogue, financed by loans which they used to pay the landowners. Rabbi Yehuda he-Hasid died just days after an acquisition agreement was reached; his students remained a flock without a shepherd, but were able to raise funds from the Diaspora and take out loans from local Arab residents in order to continue the plan to construct a splendid synagogue. After some twenty years, Muslims set the synagogue and the Torah scrolls in it ablaze, claiming that they were not paid what they had been owed, and that the place had become The Ruin of Yehuda he-Hasid. Because of the debt, the Ashkenazi Jews were expelled from Jerusalem and those who wanted to enter the city had to disguise themselves as Sephardic Jews – in dress and style – so as not to be identified.

After 140 years, during Turkish rule, the decree against Ashkenazi Jews was reversed and construction of the synagogue was renewed, funded by Moses Montefiore and Baron Alphonse, a brother of Baron Edmond Benjamin James de Rothschild. The structure of the splendid synagogue was planned in the neo-Byzantine style, which characterized many houses of worship throughout the Ottoman Empire and included four square towers with four 16-meters arches between them. Over the arches rose a large, spectacular dome. The synagogue became a spiritual center in Jerusalem’s Old City, until the 1948 War of Independence. During the war, the synagogue was bombed, the structure collapsed and was destroyed, and only two pillars remained standing. After the 1967 Six Day War, as part of renovation activities in the Jewish Quarter, wide-spread construction work commenced, alongside archaeological digs in which artifacts from different eras were discovered, including: Mikvehs (ritual baths) from the time of the Second Temple and a street from the Byzantine Period, which are displayed in the synagogue basement. The synagogue was inaugurated and reopened on March 15, 2010.

Burnt House in Wohl Archaeological Museum Jerusalem

Burnt House

Originally uploaded by maddavethorp

The Burnt House is an excavated house situated six meters below current street level, The house is dated to the Second Temple period located in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem and is believed to have been set on fire during the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE.

The Burnt House is a magnificent structure, located some six meters underground, found during excavations of the “Upper City.” It is named so because it serves as a unique testimony to the destruction of Jerusalem during the first century, and the fire set by the Romans. Archaeologists at the site discovered stone tablets, grindstones and ovens, large pitchers, bowls and measuring cups, and researchers believe that there was a perfume workshop at the site. Apparently the house was burned during the Roman conquest of the “Upper City” , in the large fire that also engulfed the Temple. The structure is also called Kathros House because of an inscription found at the site. The Kathros family was one of four priestly families that abused their positions.

Visitor Information for the Wohl Archaeological Museum
Address: 1 Hakara’im St., Jewish Quarter, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 02-628-3448
Hours: Sun.-Thursday. 9-4:30, Fri. and Jewish holiday eves 9:30-12:30.

Rockefeller Museum Jerusalem

The Rockefeller Museum is located in East Jerusalem, opposite Herod’s Gate. The museum was designed by renowned British architect Austen St. Barbe Harrison in the 1930s. In his beautifully impressive architectural design, Harrison successfully merged east and west. The museum, which opened in 1938, exhibits numerous important historical findings from Jerusalem and around Israel, found mostly during the British Mandate period. Among the items on display: A collection of gold jewelry, Megiddo ivory collection, Lachish letter ostracon and decorated wooden doorposts from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The museum’s exhibit halls have high ceilings, inspired by the Roman halls built around a beautiful courtyard with three different levels.
Rockefeller Museum Jerusalem

Rockefeller Museum Jerusalem
Address: Sultan Suleiman 27, Jerusalem (near Herod’s Gate, a short drive from Safra Square, parallel to the Old City walls).
Telephone: 02-628-2251

Western Wall Tunnel

Descend into the Jewish nation’s history in the 322-meter underground tunnel, at the spot closest to where the Temple once stood.

The Western Wall Tunnel was discovered 150 years ago, but was only opened to the general public in 1984. In 1996, the exit from the tunnel to the Via Dolorosa was breached. A visit to the tunnel is an experience that will fill visitors with awe, as it combines mythical forces, legends, history and politics – all in the spot closest to the remnants of the Holy Temple. The underground tunnels span the length of the Western Wall, under the homes in the Old City of Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter. The site contains spaces that have been connected to allow visitors to pass between the different splendid structures and the homes from the era of the Second Temple, the foundations of the Crusader church and buildings from the Middle Ages, wells, quarries, a canal from the Hasmonean period and more. The Western Wall is recognized as a 62-meter remnant of the Temple, though the tunnels reveal that it actually extends 488 meters.

A tour of the tunnels begins at the entrance gate adjacent to the Western Wall platform, through a passageway to the largest of the tunnel halls, which contains a model of the Temple Mount, Temple and Muslim Quarter. Continue towards the Western Wall itself, which displays a building method unique to the Herodian Era, an imprecise style that grants the Western Wall a particularly impressive look, with engineering reinforcement.

Visitors pass to Warren’s Gate, which is now blocked with cement, but was one of the four gates to the Temple Mount during the Second Temple period, through which individuals could reach the Holy of the Holies (Kodesh Hakodashim): The Foundation Stone from which, according to the Jewish faith, the world was created and on which the Holy Arc stood in the First and Second Temples. At the end of the tunnel, visitors reach a Herodian street, with the original stones still intact, that was used by the city’s upper class, merchants and Roman monarchy. From there, visitors continue on to the stunning Hasmonean canal from the second century B.C.E., at the end of which they reach the Lark Pool, under the Congregation of Notre-Dame de Sion; another right turn in the short tunnel will lead to the Via Dolorosa in the Old City.

Entrance to the Western Wall Tunnel must be coordinated in advance, and is available for groups of up to 30 people, which must be accompanied a guide. Individuals can join groups (cost: NIS 7-18). The site is closed on Saturdays. For more information and to coordinate a visit, call 02-627-1333.