The Big Felafel

Category Archive

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

15+ Places to work off the Jerusalem 15 – The good, the bad, and the ugly

Gyms in Israel. Grr. I am only complaining because I am from LA where the gyms are huge and the models are extra thin. Where a gym is open 24 hours and there is always a machine available. Where customer service and great deals on membership do exist. Can’t there just be one gym like this in Jerusalem? Just one!

Here is a list of fitness centers in Jerusalem with some honest commentary. Warning: Lots of anger. (Thanks, Rebecca, for putting the list together)

Phone: 02-6783864
Address: Malha Mall
Genders: Men, Women
Comments: This gym is the closest thing to a real gym in Jerusalem and cheaper than most of the other gyms too! Check it out as long as you don’t mind shlepping to Malha for a workout and did I mention walking through the mall in your nasty sweaty clothes!

Body Control Studio
Phone: 02-5865831
Address: a801 Hakisufim, Ramot

Body & Soul
Phone: 02-6788861
Address: Hamusachim 5, Talpiot
Genders: Men, Women
Comments: Well friends, this is the shadiest gym I have ever been to and I’ve been to almost all of them. Two years ago they did renovations and left the gym open during the process. That’s right, I was working out with some guy chipping off paint and asbestos over my head. Did someone say gyms are for getting healthy? Finally, after lots of Israeli-style arguing, the manager said I could have three months free, since in typical Israeli fashion, the one week of renovations took three months. But of course when it came time to give me the three months, he suddenly had no idea what I was talking about. Also, the machines were almost always broken. And it is located in one of the shadiest parts of Talpiot figures that it would be since it is such a shady gym!
**UPDATE** It seems the gym has finally got their act together and respecting the customer a little bit more. They now have top of the link equipment and their new studio is located on the bottom floor and awesome classes, not to mention they have babysitting for your little one when you work out. What exactly is the babysitting, well watching the baby in the stroller and if he or she cries they’ll come looking for you. Still better than nothing. They also have decent deals and if you sign up with a friend then you both get an additional month of free membership.

Continue reading this entry »

Where to Study Graphic Design in Israel

I’m finishing up the Graphic Design and Multimedia program at John Bryce in Jerusalem and thought I’d review the course and recommend other resources for people interested in graphic and web design in Israel.


If you made Aliyah within the last 3 years, you may be entitled to some major discounts off these schools. But you’ll need to check with Misrad Haklitah or Misrad Hastudentim first.

Graphic and Web Design Schools / Programs

Below are some of the better known schools for graphic design in Israel. Almost all the courses are in Hebrew, but don’t let that stop you since the software is in English. At first, I thought the Hebrew would be extremely challenging, but by the second day, I caught on to the Hebrish lingo of “checkbox-im”, “undo-im”, and “tab-im”. And by the end of the course, I had a whole notebook full of these little phrases.

Also, many of these schools offer other creative classes such as video editing, jewelry design, animation, etc.

Considering that these are design schools, let’s see how creative and effective their websites are. After receiving grades throughout the year, it feels good to give back a little constructive criticism.

Please leave a comment if you have a review of a school or if I left any out, which is very very possible.



John Bryce Doesn’t sound Jewish, but hey…

Location: Jerusalem, Tel Aviv & Haifa

Phone: *6460; In Jerusalem, 02-678-1881 and you have to push 011 after you dial.

Length of Course: 10 months (in theory). Due to snow days (in Israel, crazy – right?), teacher sick days, random no-days, it turned into a year. Classes are twice a week at night for 3.5 hours each. Don’t worry, you get breaks, and a free coffee machine. You receive a certificate of completion at the end although I’m not sure how valuable the certificate is, since portfolios carry the real weight in the design world. So if you work hard on the projects during the course you’ll come away with a nice portfolio.

Programs Taught: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, ImageReady, Flash/Actionscript

Overall Review: B+ I can now use each of the design programs pretty easily and quickly, but there is still much more to learn and practice but Photoshop and Flash are no longer scary programs where I don’t even know where to start. However, the program lacked in teaching design principles and fundamentals. In an amazing bookabout design for non-designers, Robin Williams (not the comedian) teaches basic design principles simply and brilliantly, but unfortunately John Bryce never mentioned any of her ideas. Also, I felt like the Dreamweaver section spent too much time on building websites with tables, and not enough time on DIV’s and CSS.

Website Review: D Annoying sound when you enter which I couldn’t figure out how to turn off, crazy flying flash sections in sidebar, inside pages look much different than home page, scrolling welcome message unnecessary.


Bezalel: Academy of Art and Design

Location: Jerusalem

Phone: 02-5893323 Email:

Length: 4 years – Bachelor’s Degree

You’ll Learn: Visual Communications: Graphic/typographic design, Interactive design, Broadcast design (including animation), Illustration, and Advertising

Website Review: A I love the clean looking design and colorful photo. Nice touches of Flash. Easy to use menu with good English section.


Hadassah School of Practical Engineering

Location: Jerusalem

Phone: 02-6291932 Email:

Length: 2 years – Associate’s degree

Track: Print Production

You’ll Learn: Typography, Graphic Design, Website Design, Drawing & Sketching, Engraving and Etching, more

Track: Interactive Communications (Internet and Multimedia)

You’ll learn: Design for user interface, HTML, Introduction to Java, Introduction to Photography Three Dimensional Images and Animation, Website Production, Interactive Animation, more

Website Review: B+ Very informative with a good English section and usability, but could use a little creativity

Continue reading this entry »

Attention Chocolate Lovers: How to find the best chocolate in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the Galilee, and more

Dark, white, truffles, bars, bittersweet, milk, fondue – if any or all of these types of chocolate make your mouth water, get ready for Sandra Andrews-Strasko’s Guide to Chocolate in Jerusalem, Guide to Chocolate in Tel Aviv, Guide to Chocolate in the Golan and Galilee and Guide to Chocolate in Israel.

Sandra’s guides detail each chocolate spot with the location, website, telephone number, if it’s kosher, type of store (restaurant, retail, etc.), and an honest review and recommendation.The ratings “take into account the quality of the chocolate, service and overall atmosphere of the seller”.

The most detailed review is about little-known “Chocolat” at 8 Arlozorov St. in Jerusalem that carries a range of different chocolates from truffles and fondue to chocolates I never heard of or realized were available in this part of town. To top it off, Chocolat shares the name of the famous movie, Chocolat, and could easily turn its own story into the sequel.

Sandra, if you’re reading this, and ever decide to update your chocolate guides, I offer my exquisite taste-testing talents.

Going Green and Recycling in Israel Part 3: What and where to recycle(online and real life)

Recycling in Israel often seems to lag behind recycling in America. For example, where can I recycle my yogurt containers? Cardboard? Glass olive oil bottles? I’m hoping people reading this will respond to these questions. In the meantime, I’ve collected some info about recycling that I’ve collected, which I’ve divided into online recycling and real life recycling.

Where to Recycle – Online

Image from Avi Rubin's blog

Thanks to the Green Prophet, here’s a list of websites to help you get rid of your stuff or find someone else’s for free. Who said going green had to be expensive? If you like digging for treasures, these sites are a definite find.

English sites

Hebrew sites

English and Hebrew site

Where to Recycle – Real Life

Check out this Janglo post, where someone compiled a post on what people found out about recycling in Israel. One person even went to the recycling plant and discovered which bottles the plants prefer to get (answer: clear bottles), which bottles are not really wanted (colored bottles), and what some of the plastic is used for (furniture).

Pikadon – Pikadon is the money you’ll receive for deposting certain bottles or cans. Check your bottle or can for the label. It’s important that you leave this label intact – some supermarkets can be really strict! For wine and alcohol, you’ll usually get 25 agurot, and for beer, you’ll get 25 agurot for the small bottles, and 1 shekel for the big ones.

Plastic Bottles (Soda, Water) – The big green grates located on practically every street in Jerusalem.

Paper – In Jerusalem, these are the the green bins with pretty painted pictures. Make sure to bring your camera – some of these bins are really creative.

Glass – you can take glass bottles to certain supermarkets. In Jerusalem, you can go to Mister Zol under the Mashbir, Mega and SuperSol Deal in Talpiot – I find Mega in Talpiot the easiest to deal with for this kind of thing.

Batteries – Bring to Merkaz Hamagshimim Hadassah, Dor Dor V’Dorshav 7A in the German Colony in Jerusalem. Tel: 02 561 9168

Old appliances and electronic devices – Drop it off at the Science Museum in Givat Ram, Jerusalem. As you enter the car entrance to the Museum, turn left. Visit Snunit Recycling for more info.

Jerusalem Municipality Recycling Center in Givat Shaul (on Givat Shaul Road opposite Herzog hospital) accepts clothing (torn and stained too) for recycling, as well as glass, electrical items, plastic bottles and bags, metal, glass, used cooking oil, etc.
Open Sun-Thu 10 am to 4 pm; Fri: 10 am to 2 pm
Phone: 02-6535944

If you have more info to contribute, please don’t hold back…

3 websites to find out what’s going on in Jerusalem

Bored? Out of the loop? Hate when people ask questions when they can’t hear the answer? Here are 3 websites that should keep you filled in on the latest events, plays, festivals, comedy nights, and everything else that is happening in J-town.

1. jerusalemblueprint – The Jerusalem Blueprint takes after the New York version – NYBluePrint, a Jewish newspaper focusing on events happening in the Jewish community. It is the most comprehensive listing of Jerusalem events that I’ve come across and severely underpublicized. The secret is out.

2. janglo – Oh Janglo, where would I be today without you? The addictive Jerusalem message board has its own calendar for events happening all over Israel, not just Jerusalem.

3. gojerusalemGo Jerusalem, which I covered earlier, is Nir Barkat’s baby, and is a good reference for events happening in Jerusalem and also features lists of bars, restaurants, and other touristy stuff. This is where I found out about the soup festival. As Danny pointed out in the comments, good call on the dome of the rock – subliminal messages, Nir?

Who said 3? I’ll find you.. I meant 5. So here’s a bonus:

4. jerusalemite1.jpg Jerusalemite is the new kid in town and is still in Beta. It is a cultural guide to Jerusalem and so far it looks like a really fun and energetic site, making me want to run out and find new places to explore. It will take a lot of effort to keep it updated and fresh, but I for one will appreciate it.

5.muni.jpg Jerusalem Municipality – If you can navigate your way through this site in English or Hebrew and find all the details about an event happening in Jerusalem, you get a big high five. I was hesitant about listing this site because I find it confusing and try to use it as little as possible. But, I gueeesss it’s the official site of Jerusalem, so I should really include it.


Sderot or Your City? The Click To Care Campaign

sderotThe barrage of rockets continues to hit Sderot, and have now made their way to Ashkelon. While I worry about where and when the next rocket will hit, I can’t help but wonder if I am the only one. It is clear that we can not leave it up to the government to effectively run this country or military operations-but I still have faith in the people.The below video is a part of a Click to Care Campaign that I hope all of your will participate in. By clicking on this video and passing it on to friends and family, I hope we can get the word out about Sderot. We must educate the world in order to be heard.

Watch the video- click to care- and pass it on. Below, you will also find a list of organizations dedicated to helping Sderot and victims of terror. There are many ways to support Sderot: volunteer, donate, speak out, and make your voice heard with the click of a video.

Sderot in our Hearts:
Being run by a number of organization including OU Israel and Nefesh B’Nefesh, Sderot in our Hearts is dedicated to bringing Purim joy to the traumatized children of Sderot.

Challot from Sderot by Standing Together:
Standing Together is dedicated to helping brighten the day of a soldier. This project allows Israelis to order challot and other baked goods directly from bakeries in Sderot for pick-up at different locations in Yerushalyim (and elsewhere) on Friday mornings.

One Family
Raises money for victims of terror.

Connections Israel: www.connectionsisrael.comsderot
This Purim, Connections Israel plans to deliver a holiday gift basket to every family in Sderot (10,000 families in total) with a letter of support from a Jewish family overseas. This project will connect families and communities in a major expression of Jewish unity.

Amit’s Campaign for Sderot has helped hundreds of children to advance in their studies, to continue their education, and to succeed in school despite tremendous obstacles.

Table to Table:
Table to Table with the assistance of private donors is bolstering Sderot’s food industry through the purchase of food from local caterers, bakeries, butchers and grocers.

Chabad of Sderot:

Sderot Media Center:
SMC aims to convey the Kassam rocket reality in Sderot and Western Negev to the Israeli and international community through media documentation and investigative journalism.

The Israel Project:

israel project
The Israel Project is providing journalists with royalty free pictures of Sderot, in order to promote Sderot’s image in the media. They also have informative links about the current situation and history.

Children of Sderot Summer Relief Project

The directors of 11 large Jewish summer camps from Boston to Montreal to California have joined together to create this ambitious project to airlift 110 children out of missile-bombarded Sderot and bring them to North America to experience the summer of their lives at these camps.

Continue reading this entry »

Where to go dancing in Jerusalem: Salsa, Israeli, Clubs, Belly, and more

salsa dancer

Thank goodness there are places in Jerusalem to let go of my pent-up energy after long days spent staring at a computer screen. Unfortunately, I felt like the information for different kinds of dancing in Jerusalem like salsa, Israeli/folk dancing, clubs, belly dancing, and others was all over the place. So, I sat myself down and gathered what I could into one central, organized place (I love lists, what can I say?). Make sure to call the person or venue to verify any information below. If you would like to add any dance venues, please leave a comment below.

In related Salsa news, while I was searching for everything Salsa and Israel, I came across the 7th Annual Mediterranean Salsa Congress’ , which is hoping to create peace in Israel through salsa. If you’re still skeptical, just watch this clip. How come no one thought of this before?!


  • Merkaz Hamagshimim
    Tuesdays at 8pm
    Includes: Salsa, Marengue, Roueda, Cha Cha and Kumbia and Bacheta.
    Cost: 25 NIS
    Location: The Merkaz, 7a Dor Dor VeDorshav St.
    Phone: Dudu 050-856-3117
  • Candela Club
    Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays:
    21:00-22:30 – Learning Salsa LA style
    22:30-02:00 – Salsa Party
    Cost: 40 NIS
    Location: Rav Chen Mall, 16 Haoman St. Talpiot
    Phone: 050-565-3997
  • Mirage Club (really nice teachers, and even if you’re just learning, lots of good people to watch)
    Note: I heard this club moved to the Malha area (updated Mar 2009)
    Thursdays: Continue reading this entry »

Top 6 Bargains in Israel (and the runner-ups)

Shuk Mahane Yehuda Jerusalem Israel

After being in Israel for over 3 years, I think I have established the top 6 bargains in Israel. But please, if I forgot any, leave a comment and tell me all about it.

  1. Tablecloths for 18 shekels 10 shekels
    I found pretty Shabbat tablecloths that just about everyone seems to have for 18 shek. This deal is so good, it turns out, that every time my mom comes to visit, it is the only thing she stocks up on.
    Where: Agrippas St in Jerusalem, coming up from King George toward the Mahane Yehuda shuk. It is on the left hand side and they usually have the tablecloths displayed on the street.
    Update: The store on  Agrippas went out of business. But you can find an even better deal at Bazar Strauss in Talpiot across from the Achim Yisrael mall
  2. Haircut for 35 shekels
    We previously wrote about how you can get a 35 shekel haircut by a hair-cutting student at Shuki Zukri Diri in downtown Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Turns out that Mr. Zikri owes millions on the grey market and therefore has shut down his beauty salons. Real bummer. The only thing I can recommend now is to wait for a good deal to show up on group deal sites like Groupon or the like.
    Phone: 02-624-0171
  3. Nesher Shared Taxi Sherut for 45 58 shekels
    For 45 50 58 shekels you get door-to-door service from anywhere in Jerusalem to the airport. My friend said he had a hard time finding Nesher’s phone number online so I thought I’d post them. Make sure to call a day or two before to reserve a spot. Here’s a Nesher-specific “Did you know”. Did you know that they don’t have Nesher in Tel Aviv? I mean, I guess it makes sense since it’s so close to the airport but… how do they survive?
    Phone numbers: 02-623-1231, 02-625-7227
  4. Iced Coffee for 5 shekels
    Personally, I like the smooth iced coffee without the icy chunks. But the Iced Coffee from Marzipan in the shuk is so cheap that I just wait for it to melt.
    Where: The Legendary Marzipan bakery is on Agrippas St. but you probably already knew that and just got up to check the fridge to see if you have any rugalech left over.
  5. Autenti clothes 20-50 shekels.
    Autenti sells hippie-ish clothes between 20 and 50 shekels and usually have cute skirts.
    Where: Stores on Yaffo St. and Agrippas St.
  6. 30 pitas for 10 shekels
    Stop by the shuk at night around 8-9:30 as it’s closing to find good deals on pita and other stuff they’re trying to get rid of.
    Where: Try on Yaffo St by the entrance.


  • Stove Lighters for 5 shekels from the dollar store. Obviously the conversion rate of the dollar needs a little update.
  • Duvsheinit Challah for 6 shekels from the shuk
  • Soup Festival at the David Citadel for 48 shekels. The all-you-can-eat soup is from 10am to 11pm every day until the end of March for 48 Shekels. They also have wireless internet, so you can pretty much just move in and set up your office right next to the soup buffet.

These deals are updated as of January 18, 2012, so they are likely to change due to inflation. No guarantees.

Where the @#$*& is my bus? Using the online Egged bus schedule


If you want to find me in Jerusalem, I’m probably the tall girl running, arms flailing, out of breath, trying to catch the number 18 bus. Either that, or I’m drooling at the bus stop in what seems like eternity waiting for the bus to come.

Luckily, my friend showed me how to navigate the tricky Egged site and read the online Egged bus schedule.

Here’s how: Continue reading this entry »

Sushi take-over of Jerusalem


Just a few weeks ago, it was very difficult to come across sushi in Jerusalem, especially kosher sushi. Apparently, not anymore. It’s as if someone heard me wanting sushi and I got my wish – but did they take it too far? These sushi restaurants are starting to pop up in every Jerusalem neighborhood, including taking over what used to be a cute little cafe called Faza in the Katamon/Palmach neighborhood. I loved Faza – with their TV entertainment system in the bathroom and wireless internet. 😦 But I also like sushi. What to do.

Here’s the list of kosher sushi restaurants in Jerusalem I’ve come across. You can find more details and coupons at Eluna and In case you’re too cold to leave your house, I’ve included the phone numbers since most of them offer delivery. I put them in order of the ones I want to try out. Continue reading this entry »