The Big Felafel

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


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
    Over 40,000 classical Hebrew books for free download. Mostly Jewish books and texts. Books in Hebrew and English.
  10. English books. Check the Shipping Destination and Rates for each book to see the rate to ship books to Israel
  11. – Mostly Hebrew books. Seems like only new books
  12. – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  13. – Used Hebrew and English books
  14. – Used Hebrew and English books
  15. – Used Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  16. – Used and New Hebrew and English books
  17. – New Hebrew books and small selection of English books
  18. Steimatsky – New Hebrew and English books
  19. Tzomet Sfarim – New Hebrew and English books

The unspoken fear – unemployment

yk.pngI was reading Life in Israel’s review of blogs during the “Bush week”, I discovered a new blog, wayeshevyaaqov. It’s been a while since I’ve had the attention span to read an entire post – especially when it’s a long one. But I had no trouble getting through Ya’aqov Ben-Yehuda‘s brutally honest account of being unemployed in Israel. Despite his despair about finding a new job, he decided to share valuable advice with others on what employment sites to look at, especially if you’re an English teacher (drushim, jobcentral, English Teaching Network, etc.). Ya’aqov, if you’re reading this, I put together a list of employment sites – maybe it will help you. (Just so you know, I tried to leave a comment on your blog, but I don’t have a blogger account so it wouldn’t let me.)

Ya’aqov also pointed out what seems like an unbelievably helpful website – a free faxing service within Israel. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks awesome. As we know too well, Israel is forever stuck in the 80’s and believes that faxes are the wave of the future. Thank you, Ya’aqov, for your great tips, good luck finding a job, and I’ll pass your resume around to whoever I can.

English book stores and sales in Jerusalem – used and new books

Here is a list of bookstores that have a selection of new or used english books. Please leave me a comment with any more details about these bookstores.

*Updated thanks to responses from the Yahoo group IsraelBooks, and commentators.

*I put stars next to my favorites

1. Sefer VeSefel*
Location: City Center | On Yavetz St. which goes from Yaffo to the stairs on Ben Hillel St.In an alley off of Jaffa St. near the Bat Ayin clothing store.
Tel: 02-6248237
Description: Mostly used books, but a few new,especially brand new bestsellers. They will buy your books, I got 15 shekels credit from The Jew in the Lotus. Also, they do up to 65% buyback for books you buy from them.

2. (Don’t know the name but its an antique / rare books place) – City Center. Between Gazith shoes and Big Apple Pizza.

3. Stein Books
Location: City Center | Address: King George across from the new Avi Chai building and the Mirage danceclub.

4. Moffit (?)
Location: Nachlaot | On the side of Binyan Clal off of Jaffa St. across from the Shuk. They possibly have another branch in the lower level of Binyan Clal right at the southern entrance on Rechov Yaffo.
Description: Almost entirely used books.

5. Siman Kriah (also known as BookMark)
Location: Bak’a | 1 Esther Hamalka St., corner 33 Bethlehem Rd; between Derech Hevron and Derekh Bet Lehem;
Tel: 02-673-1934
Description: Specializes in Children’s books and books for youth in English and in Hebrew.

6. Stein Books (same name, I know)
Location: City Center | King George across from the Sheraton Hotel

7.  World of Magazines
Location: Talpiot | Achim Yisrael Mall, HaTnufa St. (3rd floor)
Tel: 02-502-3661

8. The Book Gallery
Location: City Center | 6 Schatz street, now a pedestrian-only street
Tel: 02-623-1087

9. Gur Aryeh
Location: Nahalat Shiva, City Center | middle of Yoel Salomon St.

10. Dani Books*
Location: City Center | 54 Yafo St. corner of Yafo and Even Yisrael
Tel: 02-6248293

11. Olam Qatan
Location: German Colony | 52 Emek Refaim
Tel: 02-563-7507
Description: holistic, mystical, religious, scientific, english, used and new

12. Intellect Books
Location: City Center | Rehov Yaffo, past Selina icecream shop and Shanty clothing store if youre going toward the old city.
Description: used books. hebrew, english, german, russian, just about any language and topic. you can also sell your books.

Book Sales, Book websites

  • New Yahoo group: IsraelBooks
  • AngloBooks – website to trade English books with others in Israel
  • Books 4 Now– used books in Israel. Order 4 books, get free delivery
  • Janglo – usually lists the latest book sales. Over the past year I’ve gone to book sales at AACI, Amit, Merkaz Hamagshimim, closing book stores, and people’s moving sales.