Who is Fun Joel?
Shalom! I’m Joel Haber, more commonly known as “Fun Joel.”
I grew up in New Jersey, lived for many years in the great city of New York, moved from there to L.A., where I spent five wonderful years, and then moved to Israel in March 2009. My background through most of my American adult life was in the film business, focused primarily on the screenwriting side of things. As a freelancer, I also did many other jobs, typically covering aspects of writing or teaching.
When I made "Aliyah" (the Hebrew term for a Jew's immigration to Israel) I largely left that side of my life behind and built my career as a tour guide. Since receiving my license in February 2012, I have continued to bring elements of my past to my work as a guide. I use my love of Story in the tours I give, entertaining my clients, surprising them, and giving them a sense of the drama and beauty that is my beloved land of Israel. And since they are on a tour with Fun Joel, I make sure the tours aren't remotely boring!
(By the way, for those who are wondering where my nickname comes from, I was given it by my friend "Funky Edina," who began introducing me that way to her friends. People started using it, and eventually it just stuck and became a nickname I embraced and used for business, too. I like to think that wouldn't have used it if it weren't accurate!)
About My Tours
I believe everyone deserves personal attention and a customized tour to fit their needs. Whether you are looking for a single-day tour, a multi-week exploration of this beautiful land or a specialty tour focused on a topic of interest, I can design and guide the perfect itinerary for you.
When it comes to touring this diverse and unique country, one size does not fit all. There are so many different types of sites, so many different subjects that can be explored and (most importantly) so many different types of tourists with varying interests and backgrounds. I take pride in creating tours that speak to that very diversity.
One of the things I love about being a licensed tour guide here in Israel is that this country has so much packed in to such a small space. We are about the size of New Jersey, or South Africa's Kruger National Park, and yet we have something for almost any interest. History, religion, archaeology, food and drink, agriculture, nature, geology, bird-watching, industry, sports, environmentalism – you name it, there is something in this country to see that relates. And as someone with truly diverse interests who loves to learn almost anything new, this job is a perfect fit for me.
I have worked with groups of many types. From individuals here on business with a single day on their own, to a cruise ship group leaving from Haifa port, to busloads of new immigrants or Birthright Israel groups. I've guided Jews of every religious style, Christians of multiple denominations, Muslims from diverse backgrounds and plenty of agnostic and non-religious individuals. My tourists have joined me from at least 15-20 different countries around the world. From senior citizens to families with little children or teens, or newlywed couples, wedding-in-Israel groups or colections of single friends -- I've had the pleasure of guiding all of them!
To get some ideas of specific types of tours I run, you can start by checking out my Sample Itineraries page. These are, of course, just starting points, and can easily be tweaked to match your needs. Additionally, by far my most popular tour is a two-hour culinary tasting tour in Jerusalem's famous Machane Yehuda outdoor market.
I also offer Itinerary Planning and Hotel Booking services, both as a stand-alone or add-on feature.
I hope you'll give me the honor of letting me share my love of Israel with you!