Top 10 Things to Do in Jerusalem – Part 2

Jerusalem Summer Street Fair. Live Band.

A band playing at one of Jerusalem's Friday afternoon summer street parties.

For the first three entries in this post: Jerusalem Top 10 – Part 1

Continuing the list:

4. Get Some Culture

Jerusalem has a thriving cultural scene, full of great music, art and crafts. And especially through the summer season (which really lasts about half the year here), there are tons of festivals that can satisfy myriad interests.

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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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Sample 1-Day Jerusalem Itinerary

The Catholicon (Greek Orthodox sanctuary) of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

One of the fun things that I do as I prepare to become a tour guide in Israel is practice! It helps me learn to plan a tour, make it flow seamlessly and learn such things as timing, reading the audience, use of visual aids and organization of material. So it is really a very necessary aspect that, while not an official part of my tour guide studies, I still take quite seriously.

A few weeks ago, I took two women around for a day-long walking tour of the Old City of Jerusalem (mostly). They were two friends, one of whom was Jewish and one of whom was Christian, though neither was particularly religious. The Christian was here on her first trip to Israel, while the Jewish woman lives here, though not in Jerusalem. My goal for the day was to expose them to the sheer wealth of history that fills Jerusalem, as well as show them the diverse cultures and religions that are found here. Ultimately, I wanted them to see what a beautiful, complex and historic city I live in. I thought it might be interesting and useful to describe the itinerary we had for the day.

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The Final Itinerary

Inside one of the natural grottoes at Rosh Hanikra

In my last post of a few weeks ago, I asked for some advice in helping my friend Lara to plan a great itinerary for her first trip to Israel. Many of you here, and on my Facebook, made wonderful suggestions of things to do, places to go, and even food to eat. In total, Lara was here for 16 days, and I spent a large portion of that time with her. Your collective assistance was a great help, and I wanted to share with you the bulk of her trip, so you can see the kind of balance we included.

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Walking Through First Temple-Era Jerusalem

A piece of the wall that surrounded Jerusalem in the time of King Hezekiah.

Our siyur (tour) this past Tuesday started in my backyard, almost literally. We met at the Tayelet / Haas Promenade, a mere 5-minute walk from my apartment in beautiful Arnona, Jerusalem. This scenic outlook offers an excellent spot to view the geography of ancient Jerusalem. From there, we went to a semi-hidden and little known spot called Ketef Hinnom (Shoulder of Hinnom, a valley in Jerusalem), then hiked through Gei Ben-Hinnom / the Hinnom Valley, and came out at the bottom of Ir David / City of David. We spent the rest of the day winding our way up, down and back up again inside this complex and interesting archaeological site.

I am not going to go into too much detail about Ir David, especially since I already discussed it a bit in this post here, but I did want to discuss a few interesting points from throughout the day. I also want to discuss two recent news stories that relate to things we learned about.

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A Look at Biblical Jerusalem

Ancient burial caves in the village of Silwan, across the Kidron Valley from Ir David / City of David

This past Friday’s class focused mainly on Biblical Jerusalem. By exploring its history both through the archaeology and through the Biblical texts, we were able to formulate a picture of what makes this small piece of real estate so important in the context of world history. I’m sure I’ll have more to add once we actually take our tiyul around the area of Ir David / “The City of David.” But I did want to discuss a few interesting points that came up.

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The First Step

Me stepping into the chilly water running through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

Me stepping into the chilly water running through Hezekiah's Tunnel.

So, tomorrow’s the big day: my tourguide course begins! We’ll be having an orientation, and perhaps a first “class” as well (I’m not really sure).

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