The Big Felafel


Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Essentials category.

Jerusalem Festival Frenzy Summer 2012

Jerusalem, the city of Festivals! If there is something that can be turned into a festival here, it will!

There are so many festivals and events happening this summer in Jerusalem that I couldn’t keep track and had to compile everything in one place. Enjoy!

Wine Festival at the Israel Museum

Drink in style at the Israel museum with jazz music and wine from all over Israel.

Dates: July 30 – August 2, 2012
Time: 7:00pm-11:00pm
Entrance: 80 NIS for a glass to refill all night long. You can buy your tickets online, by phone: 02-6259703 or at the door.
Location: Israel museum  

 

Two B’av- Festival of love

An evening about love including short films from Ma’aleh Film School, stand up with Daniel Kishenovsky, Hakovah Hahafuch- songs to make you dance, lectures about love and so much more. More info
Dates: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Time: 8:00pm
Entrance: 55 NIS
Location: Beit Yehudit, 12 Emek Refaim

 

Jerusalem Woodstock Revival

The 2012 Jerusalem Woodstock Revival will feature a great range of musicians, including some of the leading names in Israeli rock, all devoting their voices to the sounds of the 60′s and the sounds which originally dominated the famous Woodstock Festival. The sounds will include those of legendary singers Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and The Grateful Dead.

Dates: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Time: Doors open at 4:30pm
Entrance: 100/140 NIS
Location: Kraft Stadium More info

 

Beer Festival

Over 50,000 liters of more than a hundred brands from all over the world will be offered, mainstream, boutique and local brewed. Every night on the main stage, the audience will enjoy a live show by Israeli bands and djs. More info

Dates: August 22-23, 2012
Time: 6:00pm-12:00am
Entrance: 30 NIS
Location: Old Train Station

 

Arts and Crafts Fairs

Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat, announced that he wants to extend the arts and crafts fairs in downtown Jerusalem so that there are fairs running every Tuesday thru Friday, starting in August, 2012. More info

Tuesdays: “Designers on Hillel” features fashion and accessories on Hillel St. and discounts at nearby restaurants and cafes. Starts August 7, 2012 from 4:00-11:00pm 

Wednesdays: “Mesibar” on Rivlin St – A festival for the whole family including street performers, Zumba classes, farmer’s market, and workshops for children. Starts August 8 from 5:00-11:00pm

Also on Wednesdays, take a look at the fine Israeli arts and crafts at the boutique shops on Yoel Solomon St. from 12-9pm

Thursdays: “Retroshalayim” on Agrippas between the Mahane Yehuda shuk and King George St.- Vintage, antique and second-hand items. From 12:00pm-10:00pm

Fridays: The Bezalel fair on Shatz-Bezalel St. features the of Bezalel students sell paintings, woodwork, jewelry, photography, accessories, and more. From 10:00am-4:00pm.

Also on Fridays, the artist and farmer’s market in the German Colony at 12 Emek Refaim St. is from 9:00am-3:00pm

 

Chutzot Hayotzer – International arts and crafts fair

Chutzot Hayotser features artists from around the world who come to exhibit their crafts. Each night at 9:00pm, there is a concert given by one of the following performers: Shiri Maimon and Shimon Buskila, Ehud Banai, Mashina, Shlomi Shabat, Hadag Nachash, Barry Sakharof, Yehudit Ravitz, Eviatar Banai, Shalom Hanoch, Mosh Ben Ari and Aviv Gefen. More info

Dates: August 6-18, 2012
Time: Sunday to Thursday evenings from 6:00pm-11:00pm and Saturday night one hour after the end of the Shabat until midnight.
Entrance: 60 NIS Discounts available
Location:  Sultan’s pool, across from the Tower of David

 

Balabasta Festival in the Shuk Mahane Yehuda

The Balabasta festival will liven up the alleyways of the shuk (as if the colorful produce and yelling wasn’t enough) with every type of music you could ever dream of, including reggae, rap in Arabic-Hebrew-Gibberish, Amharic poetry, blues, klezmer, and much more. There will also be art exhibitions and light installations. B’kitsur, you gotta check out the craziness!
Dates: Sunday evenings on August 5, 12, and 19, 2012
Time: 5-11pm
Location: Shuk Mahane Yehuda
Entrance: Free!

 

Free activities in the park

 

Every Tuesday from 5-7:30pm, there are free activities for kids in public parks around Jerusalem. Activities include planting, street art, origami, sports, and more. More info

Dates and Locations
July 31: Beit Elisheva, Old Katamon
August 7:  Park Nayot, Yehoshua Yavin 1
August 14: San Simon
August 21: Sokolov Park, Talbiyeh 

 

Hatzagan

Children’s story telling in the park (in Hebrew)
Date: Monday, July 30, 2012
Time: 5:00pm
Location: Sokolov Park, Talbiyeh 

 

Summer events at the Nature Museum

More info

Hagilgul

A play about the lives of insects. The performace is full of humor and songs and tells the story of one caterpillar who didn’t want to grow up. To order tickets, call 02-563-1116
Date: Thursday, August 2, 2012
Time: 5:00pm
Location
: Nature Museum, 6 Mohliver St. German Colony
Entrance: There is an entrance fee

The Young Pharmacist

Activities for parents and children. A tour around the garden to see the healing properties of plants and make “medicine” out of them. Each week will focus on a new topic.
Dates: Tuesdays: July 31, August 7, 14, 21, 2012
Time: 5-6:15pm
Location: Nature Museum, 6 Mohliver St. German Colony
Entrance: There is an entrance fee

The Nature Detective
 
Activities for parents and children. A tour of the museum and the little petting zoo to explore the mysteries in nature and solve them with games, riddles, and performances. Each week will focus on a new topic.
Dates: Wednesdays, August 1, 8, 15, 22, 2012. (A special evening event on August 15, 2012 8-9:30pm)
Time: 5-6:30pm
Location: Nature Museum, 6 Mohliver St. German Colony
Entrance: There is an entrance fee

Savta Galia Story Time

The Nature Museum invites children ages 3-7 for story hour (in Hebrew) with stories related to nature and the environment and integrates a workshop, petting animals, and activities in the museum.
Dates: Mondays 4-6:00pm; Saturdays 10:00am-12:00pm.
Location: Nature Museum, 6 Mohliver St. German Colony
Entrance: There is an entrance fee

Health day at the Nature Museum

Lectures and workshops about holistic and natural medicine. 
Date: Sunday, August 12, 2012
Time: 5-8:30pm
Location: Nature Museum, 6 Mohliver St. German Colony
Entrance: Free!

Thursdays in the garden

Outside the nature museum there is a community garden, run by volunteers. Work in the garden starts from 4:00pm on Thursdays. Once every two weeks, the volunteers eat together. At 6:0pm, Yisrael Golan tells a “garden midrash”.

 

Festivals at the Malha Mall

Elmo Festival

Make a puppet theater for Elmo and friends, creative workshops, Elmo games, watch Sesame Street episodes (in Hebrew – Rehov SumSum)
Date: July 30, July 31, August 1, 2012
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-7:00pm 
Location: Malha Mall 02-679-1333
Entrance: Free!

Madagascar Festival

Circus workshop with plates and balls, circus hat workshop, makeup with a professional makeup artist, make circus animals out of paper, workshop on tight rope-walking and stilts.
Date: August 5,6,7, 2012
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm to 7:00pm 
Location: Malha Mall 02-679-1333
Entrance: Free! 

Hello Kitty Festival
 
Bag-making workshop, jewelry workshop, makeup corner with a professional makeup artist, photo booth with Hello Kitty. Special performance of Hello Kitty with songs and dancing on Monday, August 12 at 5:30pm
Date
: August 12, 13, 14, 2012
Time: 11:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-7:00pm 
Location: Malha Mall  02-679-1333
Entrance: Free! 

Tom and Jerry Festival
Photo booth with your favorite characters, creative workshops, fun games for the whole family
Date
August 19, 20, 21, 2012
Time:
11:00am-2:00pm and 4:00pm-7:00pm 
Location:
Malha Mall  02-679-1333
Entrance: Free! 

Performances at Malha:
Saba Tuvia: Thursday, August 2, 2012 at 6:00pm 
Miki: Thursday, August 9, 2012 at 6:00pm
Yuval Hamebulbal: Thursday, August 16, 2012 at 6:00pm 
Dod Haim: Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 6:00pm 
Roi Boi: The Jungle Boy: Thursday, August 30, 2012 at 6:00pm

 

JELLY ice cream party
 

The goal of this party is to encourage kids to read at least 10 new books before the party. More info

Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Time: 4-6pm. 
Entrance is free. Call AACI 02-561-7151 to RSVP
Location:  Gan HaShoshanim park (Pinsker St, Talbiyeh)

 Kite Flying Festival

Learn to make and fly a kite at the Israel Museum!

Date: August 27, 2012
Time: 10:30am-7:00pm kite workshops; 4:00pm-7:00pm Kite flying and a musical parade.
LocationIsrael Museum
Entrance:  30-40 NIS for kite workshops, otherwise entrance fee for kite flying is included in museum admission

Street Festival on Emek Refaim

The street will be closed to vehicles and will be filled with street artists, food stands, bands, and more.
Date: September 10, 2012
Time: TBA
Location: Emek Refaim, German Colony
Entrance: Free! 


Story time and JELLY ice cream party in Jerusalem

Don’t get nauseous yet. A JELLY ice cream party is not what you think. Thanks to a friend, I have now been exposed to a whole new kind of JELLY – the Jerusalem English Library for Youth, one that is not red and gooey, but instead offers story time, day camps and other activities, including an ice cream party at the end of the summer (for free!). 

As an English speaker living in Israel, I have to make a concerted effort to teach my daughter English. My husband speaks to her in Spanish and she learns Hebrew at daycare. So, I was obviously excited when I found out that there is English story time in Jerusalem. This gives my daughter another place to hear English and for me, another place to connect with other English-speaking parents.

JELLY (Jerusalem English Library for Youth) is an AACI program that offers the following:

  • Monday evening story time: Each week, different parents volunteer to read books over a half hour. The story hour is free.
    • When: Mondays at 4:15pm. September 1 to the end of June.
    • Location: Baka Matnas (community center) at 3 Issachar St. 
    • Contact: Deborah, 02-671-8514
  • Summer JELLY ice cream party: To encourage kids to read, the goal of the party is to have kids read (or have read to them) 10 books. 
    • When: Wednesday, August 22, 2012, 4-6pm. 
    • Location:  Gan HaShoshanim park (Pinsker St, Talbieh)
    • Admission is free. Call AACI 02-561-7151 to RSVP
  • The JELLY Summer Theatre Workshop: The 12-day workshop is for 6-9th graders with the thrill of being on stage, as well as the crafts that go into producing a show, culminating in two an evening performances of a play, on stage in a theatre for family and friends. 
    • When: July 16-31 2012
    • Location: Baka Matnas (community center) at 3 Issachar St. 
    • Contact: Deborah, 02-671-8514
  • Camp JELLY – an Adventure with Books: for kids going into gan hova or 1st grade.  All activities such as arts and crafts, games, songs are based on books -each day with a different writer or theme. Lively but structured with aim to encourage English and a love of books.
    • When: August 12-16 2012
    • Location: Baka Matnas (community center) at 3 Issachar St.
    • Contact: Deborah, 02-671-8514
  • English library for youth: The Baka library has 50% English books.  The picture books for younger kids (and teachers’ library) are on the 2nd floor  and all other books of the Baka library including easy readers to adults are on the 1st floor. JELLY volunteers do the mending, shelving, entering books into computer, etc.
    • Hours: The Baka library is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 2-7pm & Tuesdays 9-12am
    • Taking out books: To join is free with a security check. 
    • Location: Baka Matnas (community center) at 3 Issachar St. 
    • Phone number: 02-671-1734

 
Any other questions about JELLY or ice cream, you can be in touch with Deborah Lionarons jellyaaci@gmail.com


Guide to supermarket shopping online in Israel

supermarket-sweep

Going to the supermarket in Israel is a bit like Supermarket Sweep – only without the fun trivia and prizes. You have to be in top shape to fend off the line cutters at the poultry section and then the line holders (“I’ll be right back, just save my spot”) at the checkout. You also have to endure waiting on line for at least 20 minutes at the checkout– and that’s only if the person in front of you opts out of buying cigarettes at the last minute. And, if you forgot an item at the last minute, you have to run, literally sprint, to get it so that the person behind you in line doesn’t explode in anger.

Last time I was in the US, I was amazed that a trip to the supermarket could be a quick in and out experience. In Israel, there’s never even a quick “in” – what with the bag checks, rummaging for the 5 shekel coin to unlock the mystery that awaits within your cart, and finally making your way in through all the outside “deals” that try to distract you from sticking to your shopping list. And, there’s certainly no quick “out” with maybe one express lane, if you’re lucky, and my experience has shown that no matter which line I pick, there is always some sort of hold up – a coupon that’s not valid, a price check on an item, a last-minute delivery decision, etc.

Let’s just say that the Israeli supermarket shopping experience is not exactly a calming experience.

The best part of going to the supermarket is the hope that there will be free samples and good deals (since there is no circular to let you know of deals ahead of time). Depending on which supermarket you go to, you may see people sampling the olives, pickles, raisins, walnuts, and anything else that is not safely guarded behind plastic. In this hilarious episode from the Israeli TV show, Ramzor, Eyal tries to eat as many free samples as he can in the supermarket… and gets caught! See what lengths he’ll go to continue enjoying free samples.  Also in this episode, Hefer tries to cancel his TV subscription but gets unbelievable offers, anything to keep him from cancelling.

After having a baby in October, I realized that if I ever want something from the supermarket, the only way I’ll be able to get it is if I order online, even if it means foregoing free samples.  At first, I was really intimidated by having to shop online in Hebrew, but after a little while, I started to get the hang of it. Most of these sites let you keep previous orders so you can just re-order many of the same things, which saves a lot of time.

Here are all the online supermarket sites in Israel, although the only one I’ve tried so far is Shufersal Yashir.

Shortly after writing this, an article came out in Yediot Achronot comparing the different online supermarkets: Shufersal, Mega, Rami Levi and MisterZol. The winner for every grouping of assorted items was Rami Levi.

shufersal

ShuferSal Yashir

I saw that Shufersal Yashir (I always thought it was SuperSol until I saw their website)  was giving 200 shekels (25 shekels for each purchase x 8 purchases) to new online shoppers, so I decided to give it a try. And I was hooked. I ordered in the morning, and could decide when I wanted to receive the delivery – the same day or the next day. Click click click and a few hours later all the heavy stuff I ordered was magically at my doorstep.

The prices are definitely a bit higher, but if you spend over 750 shekels, delivery is free.  There are deals online as well so if you shop the deals first, you may only pay a bit more than you would at the store.

The other fun thing about Shufersal Yashir is that they give you 2 random items from the store for free. Sometimes we got really great stuff like a loaf of bread or frozen peas, but sometimes they were really crappy – like grape mix for juice and pizza flavored pretzels. I guess this somewhat compensates for giving up free samples at the supermarket.

The only major drawback of shopping online is not being able to choose my own produce, but you can leave notes on the site like “un-ripe only” and they do a pretty good job of bringing you what you request. I found the user interface on the website easy to use and the search functionality really helpful.

Delivery price: 28 NIS. Free for orders over 750 NIS   29 NIS. 10 NIS for orders over 750 NIS.
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.
Payment options: local Israeli and international credit cards

 

ramilevy

Rami Levy

Rami Levy recently rolled out a new website for ordering your groceries online but with one major problem – they’re rolling out their new service painfully slowly, starting with trial runs in the Tel Aviv area only. Who knows when they’ll get to Jerusalem Sad smile. Rami Levy has the reputation of having the cheapest prices so I am definitely waiting til they come to my area.

Delivery price: 24.95 NIS
Delivery area: Tel Aviv area

logo_mega

Mega

Mega has a very photo-rich site, but is usually more expensive than the other supermarkets. I would be interested in hearing feedback from people who have used Mega online.

Delivery price: 28 NIS.
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.
Payment Options: Israeli credit cards and PayPal!

 

Mister Zol B’click 

Currently the Homepage isn’t showing deals, although there is a link to get to them, but already that gives me a bad feeling about the usability of the site. It looks like this is a relatively new site as the FAQ section still has “Question 1 and Answer 1”. According to an article recently in Yediot Achronot, Mister Zol didn’t have very good customer service – the writer of the article said he had to call 3 times before he got through to someone, and even then the customer service wasn’t very helpful.

 

Delivery price:  26 NIS for orders up to 250 NIS. 20 NIS for orders over 250 NIS
Delivery area:  Probably most cities in Israel, but I can’t click on the link to check delivery areas.

makolet

MyMakolet

I like looking around at the site because it makes me nostalgic for the US…they even have Shoprite brand cereals! Too funny.

What makes this site unique is that everything is in English.

The website says they will call for your credit card number and don’t process the credit card through the internet. I thought the whole point of eCommerce was to put your credit card online but maybe this is comforting to some people (not so comforting to me… where are they storing this sensitive info?).

So what happens with the second purchase? Do you have to call each time? Do they call you?

I also found the user interface on the site not very intuitive.

Delivery price: 20 NIS
Delivery area: Only Jerusalem

 

yashir

Yashir4u

Located in Bnei Brak, Yashir4u doesn’t seem to have lots of brands I’m using to seeing at the local supermarket. Maybe it’s because they only sell Mehadrin products. The prices seem to be much cheaper than Shufersal Yashir.

Delivery price: Free for orders over 500 NIS
Delivery area: Most cities in Israel. Enter your zip code to find out if they deliver to your area.

 

superbaba

SuperBaba – for the Tel Aviv area only. Looks like a brand new site. I clicked on “Deliveries” and the text says “text related to deliveries” Ha!

 

The only question remaining is – will the Shuk Mahane Yehuda follow the trend and go online?! Will the website include screaming vendors and flies buzzing  to replicate the true experience of the shuk?

Where do you like to go shopping? Where do you find the best deals?


Guide to Passover Activities in Israel 2011

 

To get you in the mood, here’s an awesome Passover video that asks, What if Moses had facebook?

Bezalel Street Arts and Crafts Fair

Opens April 1, 2011

Artists show off their crafts, jewelry, photography and more at this funky street festival.

9am to 3pm
Shatz St., downtown Jerusalem
Free Entrance
More info

AHAVA festival 2011

April 19-23, 2011

at the Dead Sea featuring Yehuda Poliker, Ehud Banai, Eviatar Banai, Mosh Ben Ari, Hadag Nachash, and more
More info

Continue reading this entry »


Guide to Childcare in Israel and 15 questions every parent should ask


If there is one thing harder than birth, we would say it is trying to register your child for day care. Unlike the birthing process, there’s no Lamaze class to teach you breathing techniques as you try to register your child for day care in Israel.

But lucky for our readers, you can learn through our mistakes and questions as we  navigate the childcare system in Israel. And let us say right off the bat, that we encourage and beg you to add info in the comments section in order to help the new parent community.

It is barely spring, but according to Israel you need to secure a place for your child for the fall. You must sign up before spaces fill up, and that means that even if you don’t know what part of town, or even what part of the country you are living in, well that’s too bad.

Check out our guide below that explains the different types of daycare options in Israel.

Public/Government Run Childcare:

Maon (Daycare)

Definition: This is large-scale daycare run by various organizations (usually women’s organizations).  The government supervises and dictates policy.  You must register for these and be accepted (registration starts April 27, 2011). Full-time working mothers have top priority.

Groups:

  • 3-15 months: 1 adult for every 6 children, maximum 15 in a group.
  • 15 months – 2 years: 1:9 ratio,  maximum 23 in a group
  • 2-3 years: 1:11 ratio, maximum 27 in a group

Opening Hours:

  • Sunday-Thursday: 7:00am-4:00pm (though some go as late as 5:00pm)
  • Friday: 7:00 am-1:00pm
  • Holidays:  Government policy: three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: NIS1550- NIS 2050, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings

What is included: Food (and sometimes sheets)

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, (sheet for the bed)

Maons in Jerusalem:

Mishpachton (pre-nursery in someone’s home)

Definition: This is daycare that is run out of a private home.  The government supervises and dictates policy.  There can be a maximum of 5 children (without getting special permission for more)  and  no more than 2 children under the age of one.  If there are more children an additional caregiver must be present.

Hours and Holidays:

  • 6 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:00pm, Fri: 7:00am-12:00pm
  • 5 Day a week Mishpachton: Sun-Thur 7:00am-4:30pm or 7:30am-5:00pm (although some places are only until 4:00pm)
  • Holidays: They must abide by the government set holiday schedule.  This includes taking off three weeks in August (of which you pay a full month’s worth of tuition), a week before Pesach and the whole holiday, the other major Jewish holidays and the week of Sukkot.

Prices: More or less the same price as a Maon, approximately NIS 1550, scale-based subsides payments based on household salaries and siblings.

What is included: Food

What you need to bring: diapers, baby wipes, clothes, pacifiers, bottles, sheet for the bed

Continue reading this entry »


25+ Daily Deal and Group Deal websites in Israel

Update: Groopbuy is no longer around. But most of the other ones on this list are live and rockin’!

While there are plenty of daily deal sites to choose from, and it seems like every day a new site pops up, we here at The Big Felafel are big fans of GroopBuy.

And not just because of the Holy Bagel NIS 20 dozen that I purchased last month.

David Shadpour, the founder of GroopBuy and an American living in Jerusalem, has tailored the site to Jerusalem’s English-speaking community. We are the ones that often miss out on deals because we just don’t read Hebrew all that well (yet), know how to bargain or we are friars (suckers). David is my friend and if you didn’t know it he is your friend too, by giving us the opportunity to enjoy stores, restaurants and even gyms for more than half price (and often even upwards of 70% off the price).

Obsessed with GroopBuy as I am, I got a chance to sit down with David and hear what he had to say. “GroopBuy is the only daily deal website that gives deals everyday,” David explains to me. And it is true. A lot of these sites have deals for three days running which misses the point of buyer power and obviously the daily deal part. Not only that but David tells me, “Our discounts are 15 to 20 percent larger than other sites.” Another fact I love. GroopBuy also makes sure to have a variety of deals so you can enjoy paintball one day and a stylish hair cut another.

GroopBuy does its homework. The company has a very high standard of requirements in order to accept a deal. “We have over 60 deals that have not happened because they did not meet our requirements,” he says, adding that “of course there is always trial and error, but most importantly we want to hear from our customers about what they think about the places. If we hear something negative then chances are we aren’t going to re-sign them for another deal.” I love hearing that since I know that the person behind the site really believes in the places he promotes.

In addition to promoting quality places, GroopBuy also tries to spotlight new immigrant vendors, helping them get on their feet. David is committed to giving “protectsia” to the Anglo community.  David says, “We’re in this together.” And he’s right. If I could buy that statement on GroopBuy, I would even pay full price.

Here are some quick tips for using Daily Deal websites:

  • Check to see if the site accepts Israeli or international credit cards. If your order doesn’t go through, it’s probably because of the credit card you’re using.
  • Make sure you carefully read the fine print before buying a deal.
  • Always print your coupon and bring it with you.
  • Always make reservations for restaurants, hotels, etc.
  • If you see a deal that you think your friends would like, make sure to send it to them or even buy it for them!
  1. GroopBuy in English
    Cities: for Jerusalem only (Tel Aviv coming soon)
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express, both Israeli and international
  2. Grouper in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv, Hod Hasharon, Haifa, Jerusalem, Ranana, Rishon Ltzion
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  3. Groupon in Hebrew (English coming soon)
    Read about the recent announcement that Groupon is worth a measly $15 billion, and that they’ve acquired Grouper.co.il for $8million in order to enter the Israeli market.
    Cities: All of Israel
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  4. Baligam in Hebrew
    Cities: Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Hasharon
    Payment Options: PayPal or credit card
  5. Kantina in Hebrew
    Cities: Jerusalem only (Tel Aviv coming soon)
    Payment Options: International credit card only
  6. Buy2 in Hebrew
    Cities: Jerusalem, Haifa, Tel Aviv/center, the south
    Payment Options: Doesn’t specify
  7. Deal Hayom in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, Be’er Sheva, Rishon Letzion
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  8. Coupo in Hebrew
    Cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva
    Payment Options: International credit card only
  9. Wallashops in Hebrew
    Cities: Jerusalem, The north, The center, The south
    Payment Options: Doesn’t specify
  10. Gozrim in Hebrew
    Focus on pregnancy, birth, and parenthood
    Cities: Jerusalem, The north, The center, The south
    Payment Options: All credit cards except for Diners
  11. Ima Like – in Hebrew
    Focus on pregnancy, birth, and parenthood
    Cities: All of Israel, with a focus on the Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: All credit cards except for Diners
  12. Big Deal by Ynet in Hebrew
    Cities: All of Israel, focus on the Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express, Leumi Card
  13. BesTours in Hebrew
    Travel site with vacations, package deals, mostly in Europe
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express, Diners, Eurocard
  14. Groupli in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv area only
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  15. Gargir in Hebrew
    Cities: Mostly Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  16. Coupona in Hebrew
    Cities: Mostly Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  17. Buddies in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv/center area only
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  18. BuyCell in Hebrew
    Cities: Mostly Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  19. Yemama in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv, Haifa (Jerusalem coming soon)
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  20. DealZone in Hebrew
    Cities: Tel Aviv area (Jerusalem and Haifa coming soon)
    Payment Options: All credit cards except for Diners
  21. ExpressDeal in Hebrew
    Cities: Mostly Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express, Leumi Card
  22. YallaBuy in Hebrew (as in, Az Yalla Bye.. love the name!)
    Cities: Mostly Tel Aviv area
    Payment Options: Doesn’t specify
  23. Shave in Hebrew
    Cities: not sure, couldn’t see past deals
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  24. Groupunch in Hebrew
    Cities: not sure, couldn’t see past deals
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  25. DealOn in Hebrew and English
    Cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Be’er Sheva
  26. Jewpon in English
    Cities: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  27. GroopScoop in English
    Hasn’t really launched yet
  28. Group-E in Hebrew for the religious
    Cities: All over Israel
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, Leumi Card
  29. Rak Ayom in Hebrew
    Cities: North, Center, Sharon, South
    Payment Options: Visa, Mastercard, Isracard, American Express
  30. Deal4All in Hebrew in Hebrew
    Cities: North, Center, Jerusalem area, South
  31. BaBeTov – in Hebrew geared toward the religious
  32. DealCity – in Hebrew
  33. Grouping (coming soon) in Hebrew
  34. Zing – in Hebrew
  35. Alut – in Hebrew
  36. Israel Coupon – in Hebrew
  37. YouToo – in Hebrew

Deal Aggregates

  1. JangloDeals on facebook, a listing of deals in Israel in English
  2. Ideals
  3. DayDeals on facebook or the website
  4. Everydeal
  5. Get it All
  6. DailyD
  7. Cliqa
  8. Tavo
  9. Zap

A Guide to Birth in Jerusalem: The deals, The clothes, The bureaucracy

Baby Pasta for diaper rash! Welcome to Israel where new flavors of pasta are invented every day!

I was always so terrified to give birth. But had someone told me about all the free crap you get, I might not have been so scared. I’m just saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel (which tunnel…), and freebies are an awesome way to make the pain feel a little less painful in the days after birth.

The Big Felafel ladies gave birth just two weeks apart and through our experiences we would now like to share our knowledge of free stuff, cheap baby stores and paperwork with you. Save this list and save your time and money.

1. Money from the great State of Israel

When you give birth in any hospital in the state of Israel you are supposed to register your child and receive an Identification Number (Teduat Zehuot) as well as a little monetary gift of about NIS 1600 (if you have twins it is way more so keep that in mind), known as a birth grant. You should also receive a small monthly supplement thereafter, so make sure to fill out the paper work and give them your bank info.

2. Treats in the Hospital

As well as the free oh-so delicious meals you will have during your recuperation period in the hospital, you will also find that there are random women distributing gifts for your newborn. While in the hospital you may receive diapers, fresh wipes, breast pads and even a pacifier. Just realize that these gifts may come to haunt you as they will most likely get your home address and start sending you all kinds of stuff. I receive some kind of coupon or baby magazine every week (a nice change from the bills, but annoying just the same).

3. Betuach Leumi, National Health Insurance Pays Too!

That’s right, if you are a working expecting mother then make sure to collect your $200 after passing go. That is to say, that after you give birth you are entitled to 14-weeks paid maternity leave. My advice is to make sure you collect the past 10-months of pay-statements before leaving your job because you may need them when filling out paper work. The paper work will either be sent to you by your employer or you can get it at Betuach Leumi. It is pretty simple to fill out and your employer will also need to file. You can submit your paperwork at any time but it takes about a month for the money to be posted to your account so keep that in mind. The payment is supposed to be based on an average of the last three months you worked, so make sure to do your overtime if you can. Also, another tip here is to go to Betuach Leumi during afternoon hours when they are empty and more friendly since they are about to go home. One woman even let me breastfeed in their private kitchenette. I even started a trend when another nursing lady followed me in to the room. For more info from Betuach Leumi, check out their website.

4. Misrad Hapnim, Ministry of Interior, Make it Official

As I stated above, when you are in the hospital you should get an ID number for your child which will help when you need to get their passport. If you don’t fill out the paperwork there, don’t worry, you can always go to the Ministry of Interior to do the paperwork. If you go, again I recommend going during afternoon hours when it is less crowded. You will need to bring your baby’s paperwork from the hospital and the correct size passport photos (you can get them done anywhere) as well as the baby to prove that it is the same kid in the pictures. My advice here is to register the child’s birth and get their Israeli Passport at the same time, why go back twice? For more info.

5. SuperPharm cares

Continue reading this entry »


Where to shop for Maternity Clothes in Israel

You’d think that with Israel’s relatively high birthrate, and every woman you pass on the street being pregnant (doesn’t it seem that way?) there would be far more choices of maternity clothes in Israel than there are. As my belly, and most noticeably, my belly button, start to protrude, the hunt is on for nice maternity clothes in Israel that aren’t too expensive. Ha! As it turns out, this is a contradictory request, right up there with other things in Israel that are  totally overpriced like cottage cheese, organic milk (only in health food stores), decent sheets, and deodorant. Here is a review of the maternity wear that I’ve come across.

What I learned along the way

My first piece of advice would be to ask all your friends for maternity clothes.

My second piece of advice is to invest in long tank tops or the belly band to keep your  belly covered, especially for tall ladies like me.

If you have the opportunity to go to the United States or can have someone bring you clothes, I recommend ordering from Motherhood MaternityTarget, and Old Navy (sign up for the email and get discounts).

Note about sizes: I thought that as my belly grew I’d start wearing bigger and bigger sizes. But apparently that’s not true and you’re supposed to get your regular size when ordering from a maternity selection. I ordered a pair of pants from Old Navy that I thought would be my size but they were huge! Try ordering one size lower than you normally are if you’re ordering from Old Navy, their stuff runs big!

Warning about stretchy pants: I think it may be hard to go back to regular pants. I don’t know yet, but I am lovin’ me the stretchy pants, stretchy skirts, stretchy everything and will be very tempted to continue wearing my maternity jeans after giving birth.

Here’s my review of maternity clothes in Israel:

logo

Ramilee: Probably the  most well-known maternity shop in Israel, they have ok clothes, nothing special or trendy, and the prices are moderate to high. I did splurge on a really awesome pair of jeans from Ramilee. List of Ramilee stores in Israel

foxlogo

Fox – Mom-to-be line Often compared to the Gap, Fox conveniently started carrying a small maternity line, just as I became pregnant! What are the chances?! i found a cute shirt and some long tank tops, but the selection is pretty small. List of Fox stores in Israel. Call first to see if they carry the mom-to-be line.

hm

H&M Mama line. The excitement has finally calmed down, and you no longer have to wait in line to get into the store or a dressing room at H&M in Israel. I wasn’t so impressed with their maternity clothes, but did notice that they had some good basics like nursing t-shirts and nursing tank tops. All 3 branches (Malcha Mall Jerusalem, Azrieli Mall Tel Aviv, and Grand Canyon Mall, Haifa) carry the Mama line. List of H&M stores in Israel

tamnoonlogo

Tamnoon Although they don’t officially have maternity clothes, I have found regular clothes that are very flattering on a pregnant belly, at really good prices. Almost all the clothing in the store is under 100 shekels and the quality is pretty decent. They have good deals on long tanks tops. Here are pictures of 2 things I  got from there: stretchy skirt and flowy top – each under 70 shekels. The Tamnoon stores tend to be tiny with all the shirts stacked to the ceilings so you can’t actually see anything and feel bad asking somebody to get on a ladder for you. However, a new branch opened in Jerusalem’s Hadar Mall in Talpiot which is the biggest and roomiest branch I’ve seen yet. Tamnoon is in just about every mall, but you can check out their website to see the full listing of stores.
s1 tshirt

avishaglogo

Avishag is a high end, designer maternity store. The truth is that I haven’t been inside because I’m afraid I’ll like something and it’ll cost me a month’s rent. store listing

ml

Matimli features larger sizes and a maternity line, for2. Their clothes are very Israeli style. i took a peek but couldn’t find anything I liked.

Jerusalem
If you live in Jerusalem, there are  a few cheap clothing stores in Talpiot that have some pants with stretchy waistbands – Big Shop (on HaOman) and World of Fashion (on Hatnufa across from Kanyon Ahim Yisrael in Talpiot).

You can also try the hippie-type stores like Autenti on Yaffo St in downtown Jerusalem for stretchy skirts and dresses.

Also, there are some stores in the religious neighborhood of Mea Shearim area but I didn’t exactly think they’d have my style so I didn’t venture over there. Here’s the listing in the yellow pages.


Leave comments about where you’ve been successful in finding maternity clothes in Israel. Thanks!


I heart NIS 5 Ice Coffee- But here’s why

It’s almost summer, but if you’re like me then you’ve been drinking ice coffee (also known as ice cafe or froozen coffee) all year round. However, with the heat about to go up a couple of notches, the ice coffee craze will also make waves of its own.

If you get addicted or simply can’t afford the amounts of delicious goodness you are consuming then let me help you out. If you’re an avid reader of the blog (which clearly every person that reads our blog is) then you’ve heard this spiel before, but now there’s more!

Marzipan, a bakery known for its gooey rugelach has been selling ice coffee for NIS 5 for the past three years. Every summer I worry that they will raise their prices, but I am happy to say that’s never the case. In fact these are some of the smartest Israeli business people I have ever known. Without any advertising and just word of mouth, they have managed to expand their shuk operation to a bigger store and open up a shop just off of Emek Refaim. And now the smartness (is that a word, ironic) continues with the expansion of their ice coffee treat.

Instead of just one ice coffee machine, they’ve now taken over the adjacent stall and opened up a row of machines featuring different flavors from banana (not a fan) to lemon-nana to sweet vanilla. You can even combine the flavors and each cup is filled to the very top. This is about as close to a slurpee that we will ever get to! I’ll have to stop writing this now since the mere thought demands that I go out and purchase yet another treaty-treat of ice coffee!

Marzipan I thank you for your continued support in my ice coffee addiction. You’ve allowed me to continue purchasing my favorite drink at a consistent low price and, forced other vendors to lower their ice coffee prices as well. But have no fear my loyalty is to you. I promise I will always drink your ice coffee and sometimes vanilla and a few times lemon-nana and continue to spread the word about your smart business ethics and amazing deal. I only ask that you have the same low price at your Emek Refaim shop where you would no doubt win over the hearts of people forced to pay NIS 18 at the coffee shops throughout the area.

The next sip is on me!


9 ways to order or download English books in Israel

I love walking into bookstores. I love the smell. I love rummaging and looking for great finds. I love the bargain bin.  I even love reading book spines until my neck is permanently stuck to my shoulder. But if you live in Israel, there is no massive Barnes & Noble – like store or well-stocked library with English books besides Hebrew University.  There are a few bookstores that carry English books but it’s very possible that you won’t find what you’re looking for.  So, as much as I love dawdling around in a bookshop, I find myself drawn back to the web to find more choices. The problem is that some online stores like Amazon charge a ridiculous amount to ship books to Israel.  Luckily, I’ve spotted a bunch of bookstores that ship relatively cheaply or even for free to Israel and a few websites where you can download books for free.

Note about shipping: If you order books over $50, you may be required to pay a VAT tax at the Israeli post office.


  1. The Book Directory Free worldwide delivery
  2. better world books
    Better World Books – $3.97 shipping worldwide; Bargain Bin has 5 used books for $15

  3. Books 4 Now
    – Israel-based online booksstore that sells used books in Israel. Order 4 books, get free delivery anywhere in Israel

  4. AngloBooks
    – website to trade English books with others in Israel
  5. hookabook-israel
    Hook A Book – focused on Israel although prices are in dollars. Free international standard shipping. The site is a little hard on the eyes and there is no search function which makes it a bit difficult to browse but maybe they’re still developing the site as it’s pretty new.  PayPal accepted.
  6. project gutenberg free ebooks
    Project Gutenberg
    Over 30,000 works of literature, cookbooks, reference works, periodicals, etc.  in the form of e-books and audio mp3s that you can download for free.
  7. sci fi books in israel
    42Scifi New and used English sci-fi books in Israel.

  8. Bookmooch – bookswap based on points sysem. For each book you want, you have to send 2 books to others
  9. read hebrew books free online
    HebrewBooks
    Over 40,000 classical Hebrew books for free download. Mostly Jewish books and texts. Books in Hebrew and English.
  10. Abebooks.com English books. Check the Shipping Destination and Rates for each book to see the rate to ship books to Israel
  11. Bookme.co.il – Mostly Hebrew books. Seems like only new books
  12. Obook.co.il – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  13. Findabook.co.il – Used Hebrew and English books
  14. BookTrade.co.il – Used Hebrew and English books
  15. gilboabooks.co.il – Used Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  16. book4book.co.il – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  17. books4u.co.il – New Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  18. Steimatsky – New Hebrew and English books
  19. Tzomet Sfarim – New Hebrew and English books




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