Sunday, November 28, 2004

Things to do in Israel

G. Green has asked in a comment:

I hope to be in in The Holy Land - Jerusalem this week.... I havent been for a while and havent much planned, what do you suggest I do?

I'm not sure where to start. I'll kick off with a few recommendations, and I encourage readers to contribute their own in the comments.

If you haven't been to the new Davidson visitors center at the southern excavations of the kotel, it's highly recommended. They have a computer-designed three-dimensional model of the Second Temple.

It's a great time of year to go out into nature. The bird migration is at its peak in much of the country, if you're into that sort of thing. There are beautiful parks around Jerusalem, such as Sataf and Ein Hemed. If you plan to visit national parks, it may be worth getting a visitor's pass.

Neot Kedumim isn't new, but it's a special place: A biblical nature reserve. Located between the airport and Modiin, it features landscapes with biblical species, along with explanations of their significance. They have, for example, a large etrog grove! Great for kids, too.

A must for book enthusiasts: This week only, the Jewish National and University Library at the Hebrew University's Givat Ram campus, Israel's equivalent of the British Library, is having a sale of redundant books.

In Kfar Daniel, also not far from the airport, is the visitors center of Hazorfim, makers of silver Judaica. You can tour the factory and learn how they make candlesticks, wine cups, and more. Call ahead to book a tour.

Remember, it's low season for tourists here. If you can afford it, spend some money at the shops and cafes in downtown Jerusalem. They're still hurting pretty badly.

That's it for me - it's your turn, folks!


Scrappy613 said...

While I agree that the Davidson Center is a must, G. Green should combine that with a tour of the Western Wall Tunnels. The two together give a great picture of what the Temple area looked like almost 2000 years ago. You can book a tour (the on-site guides are excellent and give tours in English and Hebrew; you book and then pickup your tickets in a little room directly opposite the Kotel - look for the red box on the wall) at 972-2-627-1333.

Zman Biur said...

I've also heard enthusiastic reactions to Mini Israel, a theme park with miniature replicas of sites across Israel. It's located near Latrun Junction, halfway between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Haven't been there myself.