Archives for July 2011

Israel Mystery Photo #10

Another Israel Mystery Photo. Picture. Tourism. Tourguide. Tour Guide. Joel Haber. Fun Joel.

Look familiar? Many of you have seen this before! Guess where it is!

That time again… Another Israel Mystery Photo. This one is one that I think many of you have probably seen but perhaps didn’t look that closely at. So I look forward to seeing how many of you can recognize it, and also to telling you about it in the next Israel Mystery Photo post!

But what about last week’s mystery photo? Well, many fewer guesses, possibly due to how late I posted it. Benny, however, was correct — it was indeed the covering of Abraham’s tomb in Ma’arat HaMachpelah / The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. I bet Aaron is kicking himself for not recognizing that one; you were so close, dude, and yet didn’t quite get it!

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A Practical Post on Changing Money

Jerusalem Yaffo Money Changing Dollar Shekel Euro

The best I found in 5 minutes of looking.

One of the common issues that any traveler needs to address is exchanging money from his home country for the local currency. I think most people that go through this procedure basically accept in advance that they will be ripped off, and just take that loss as part of the cost of their vacation.

While it is true that there is a high chance of losing money during such transactions, a very little bit of effort can save you a drop of money, and might at least make you feel as if you are not a complete freier (for an explanation of that Israeli slang term, see this post from my comedian friend Benji Lovitt).

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Israel Mystery Photo #9

Mystery Photo Israel tourism tour guide tourguide Fun Joel

Let's hear your guesses on this mystery photo!

Been a busy week for me, so I apologize for the delay on this Mystery Photo, but I hope that won’t ruin the momentum I’ve been building with these: more comments/guesses each week. Keep ’em coming gang! I love seeing your guesses on these!

I liked the responses to last week’s photo. A nice mix of correct answers, and almost correct answers. The picture was in fact from the baptistry of the Northern Church (more on that later) from the ancient Nabatean city of Avdat. Ilana was the first with the correct answer, and Aaron and Steven both got it right as well, with Steven giving the most complete and detailed answer. (By the way, for those who read Steven’s comment, stay tuned for a review post soon on the excellent materials from Biblical Backgrounds, his company.)

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Israel Mystery Photo #8

Mystery Photo. Israel. Fun Joel. Tour guide. Tourguide.

Another Mystery Photo from Fun Joel's Photo Archives!

I guess I knew that last week’s photo would be a bit more challenging, but I really liked the guesses people made in the comments. All were very logical, and show that we can tell a lot about this country by making informed guesses.

By the way, it also raises another point. Yes, I post these pictures as a fun little game for you all to see if you can recognize the pictures’ subjects. But in my interactions with you all I’ve heard a bit of hesitance to guess if you don’t know the correct answer. That’s not really my point with these. Rather, the real point of these posts is the blog post I write each week in which I talk about the correct answer. The picture is not the important thing; the explanation of it is. These photos are a brief way for me to launch discussion of the various sites (and sights) around this awesome country of Israel. So please do leave your guesses in the comments about this week’s mystery photo, above.

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Israel Mystery Photo #7

The next Israel Mystery Photo

Yet another mystery: where in Israel was THIS photo taken?

My previous Israel Mystery Photo seems to have struck a good balance. 2 correct answers, and one incorrect, but the incorrect was a decent guess from a first time commenter, Sharone. And Shmilty finally got a right answer! Happy for you buddy. Of course, Aaron once again got it right. That man is like a machine, I tell you.

But yes, the correct answer to last week’s photo was indeed the Tower of David in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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A Tour of Crusader Caesarea

Moat of Crusader City of Caesarea

The moat and walls of Caesarea's Crusader-era city.

When most people visit Caesarea, the beautiful Israeli coastal city between Netanya and Haifa, they focus on its history and archaeology in the Herodian (early Roman) and Byzantine periods. While most visitors walk right through the heart of the Crusader era city, they barely pay any attention to it. But the truth is that Caesarea has some of the best remains in Israel through which to gain an understanding of the architecture of the late Crusades, and of the impact that this slice of history had on the land of Israel.

I remember the first time I visited Caesarea (a few years ago), I started as most people do at the southern end of the National Park, near the Roman-era Theater. We toured through most of the Roman and Byzantine areas, and then approached a large, walled-in area. As we passed through the wall, I saw a large open space with lots of green grass. Inside of these walls I also found a number of stores and restaurants, which probably contributes to the area being overlooked within the archaeology at Caesarea. True, the walls are virtually impossible to miss. But when the inside has a lot of modern stores and eateries, it is easy to overlook the history, despite the benefits of this mix.

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Israel Mystery Photo #6

The next Israel Mystery Photo

Can you tell me where this photo was taken?

So, what did I learn from last week’s Israel Mystery Photo? I learned that they are much more challenging for my classmates when we did not visit the location as part of our course. I only got two responses last week (both correct): one directly emailed to me and one from Aaron in the comments, where he admitted to Googling it to find the correct answer: the Artists’ Colony in Ein Hod.

But that also raises another question for me: does making these photos challenging for my classmates also make them way too hard for the rest of you? I’d rather this be a fun challenge for most of my readers, more than a tough challenge for my classmates. So please do let me know in the comments, even if you do not know where this photo was taken. I’m also open to further suggestions and ideas. For example, would multiple choice be better for this? Let me know! Anyway…

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