The Big Felafel


Happy Hannukah Shuk Style!

EliShuk

EliShuk...it's for real!

The Mahane Yehuda Shuk is one of my most favorite places in Jerusalem. Almost everything is cheap. You can sample the fruit or the nuts with just a wink of the eye. There are so many different smells you can’t tell the good ones from the fish-head ones. And you get to meet a very unique part of Israeli society, from those that do all their shopping there, to the people that have owned their stalls for generations.

I recently found out that a friend of mine, Alex King, not only has a father-in-law with a stall in the Iraqi shuk, but that he also has the stall online…on Facebook. Not only is this awesome, but I am pretty sure this is the only shuk shop branching out into the social media world.  Alex admits his father-in-law is not the most web savy person, but is just as excited to share his shop online as he is to any customer in the shuk.

For anyone that has out of town guests, tourists or just friends that want to go to the shuk, you should definitely make Eli’s shop a part of the tour. As a part of the online presence, Eli uploads pictures of the latest products and makes sure to give his online audience a special treat with giveaways! Ahhh, now I really have your attention! What kind of treats are we talking about?

Well click hereto score yourself some delicious chocolate coins just in time for Hannukah, and stay tuned for other yummy goods.  And now for a little Q&A about the man behind the stall, the treats and the Facebook page!

Giveaway

Hannukah giveaway

When did Eli’s shop first open in the shuk?
The shop at its current location was established in 1958 by Na’im Shkuri, Eli’s father who immigrated from Iraq in 1951. Up until 1978 the shop sold fruits and vegetables. Since 1978 it branched out into confectionary and in recent years other areas such as electrical goods.

Who is this Eli?

Eli of Eli's Shop

Eli of Eli's Shop

Eli Ben-Na’im was born in Amhara in Southern Iraq. He made Aliyah in 1951 and moved to Jerusalem. He spent his teenage years in Kibbutz Ein Karmel in the North. He served in a combat unit in the army. He has served in all of Israel’s wars from the 1956 Sinai Campaign up to and including the 1982 Lebanon War. He is married, has four daughters and seven grandchildren (with number 8 on the way!). Eli has worked in the shuk since the mid- 1950’s.

Why did Eli decide to bring the shuk shop online?
The shop has been online for half a year now. The Facebook platform was chosen because it offers great social media tools and can also act as a website for the shop, even for people who don’t have Facebook.

All the merchandise in the shop can be seen on the page (in the photo album section) and new products are regularly added.

Sweets

Sweets for your sweetie!

The page gives the shop a way to communicate with its customers and the wall offers a forum for the customers to post and to talk, fostering a little “on-line shuk community”.

Moreover, all the photos, updates and posts give the user a “taste of the shuk on your computer” which is widely enjoyed by fans that outside of Jerusalem and all over the world.

Most importantly, the page offers fans special deals and discounts from time to time, so click “like” so you can enjoy them!

What is unique about Eli’s shop?
Eli has worked in the shop since it was established in 1958 making the shop probably the last remaining family-run establishment in the “Iraqi Shuk” part of the market that is still staffed by the original founding members. It retains its authentic old-fashioned Jerusalem shuk character. (Most other shops in the Iraqi Shuk are now rented out or subcontracted to hired workers).

To learn more about Eli’s Shop, products click here.

To find Eli click here.


‘Be My BFF’ Campaign: Sarah Silverman Be My Friend

This is what our friendship would look like

A few years ago famous comedian Sarah Silverman took part in a campaign geared towards getting young Jews to make sure their grandparents in Florida voted for then presidential candidate Barak Obama, in ‘The Great Schlep’.

Fast forward a few years later to present day, famous comedian Sarah Silverman is about to partake in another schlep, The Really Great Schlep, as she makes her way to the Jewish Homeland. That’s right, Silverman, obviously a big Jew, will be in Israel on tour and at this year’s President’s conference in about a week.

I am sure she will have an awesome trip, hang out with her family, and see some Jewish stuff while she is here. But more importantly, she needs to come and hang out with me, because we are destined to be BFFs. Is there a way to say that, write that, without sounding creepy or stalkerish?

So, just like Sarah Silverman once campaigned to make a difference, it appears it is now my turn to do the same. Perhaps my campaign is much smaller, really just for me and my friends and my comedy troupe, but I believe it will have a profound  effect on the nation, on Jews as a whole, and perhaps even milk prices.

Sarah Silverman this is my ‘Be My BFF’ campaign and I will do everything that I can until you and I are wearing friendship bracelets, posing in front of the Western Wall with our shoulders covered (thanks to the old lady-shmata-police at the Kotel who hand out dirty scarves to make sure G-d doesn’t get a peep show in the holiest place in the world) and leftover hummus and pita in our teeth.

There are a lot of reasons that you should be my friend and meet me on your trip to Israel. I will now list just a few. Also, I will make sure to tweet it up, Facebook and get my friends involved in my campaign. I will not sleep or eat until you are my friend. Mainly I won’t be sleeping because my eight-month-old son is teething and wakes up every two hours throughout the night. And when I say I won’t eat, what I mean is, I won’t eat too much, except for Shabbat when calories don’t count.

A List of Just a Few Reasons Why We Should be BFF:

We are both Jewish ( I only use this as a reason, because people think when they are setting people up, as long as they have one thing in common, like age, race or religion, that they must be perfect for each other…just trying to cover my bases. And this is kind of like the perfect shidduch).

I have a tiny comedy troupe, in a tiny city, in a tiny country. We are Hahafuch (it means upside down) the premiere English speaking comedy troupe in all of Israel. The only English speaking comedy troupe in all of Israel. We do improv and comedy sketches, making fun of Israel. We would love to have you for practice. Then you can check off “do improv with a bunch of new immigrants in Jerusalem” from your bucket list.

My husband is an archaeologist and can show you a private tour of his dig where they find really old stuff. He can also show you and your family awesome, really old secret places all over Jerusalem that you don’t know about.

I will take you to Bazaar Strauss in Talpiot, which is like a smaller, crappier version of Target. I will buy you anything you want, as long as it’s under NIS 10. It might not sound like much, but you could get a lot of stuff there for that price: underwear (never used, I might add), salad tongs, or half of a Purim costume (I say half because the other half is gone but they are still selling it).

I go to this Yoga-Pilates fusion class that you would love. Not because of the workout, but because the teacher wears these amazing pants, that are so wrong in all the wrong places. It is truly a body and mind challenge to get through the class. But as BFFs I know we could do it together.

I will take you to the Jerusalem Mahane Yehuda Shuk and you can meet a real busta (stall) owner in the Iraqi part, and I can guarantee he will give you some candy and tell you cool stories about his life.  I will then buy you NIS 5 ice coffee from marzipan and get you some of their famous rugelach if you insist. We will look at really pretty vegetables and take another picture, that I would probably make my Facebook profile for life.

You’re invited for Shabbat. I will make sure to have a table of awesome people, even if it means I have to become more than Facebook friends with them and possibly have to pay them. For a BFF, I would do that.

There’s more reasons of course, but I have to leave something for Twitter and Facebook. I will post reasons daily and I hope you will check them out and I will win you over. Like I said I will do anything. I can’t promise peace in the Middle East, but I can promise it like a politician does- which is about the same and worth a Nobel Prize if nothing else.

I know if we had the chance to hang out that it would be just another day in your world but for me it would kind of make my life. I moved to Israel after college and while I love it here, sometimes it’s hard to get through the day. Not because of terrorists. No I’m talking about something more evil than that- bureaucracy. So, I am just saying that you would make a big difference in someone’s life. And that difference will have a huge effect throughout the Anglo-Immigrant community in Israel. That’s a big deal. A really big deal. So on your Really Big Schlep, please just consider taking an hour or two to meet your Middle East BFF.

He wants to be BFFs too!

Also, I have a dog. He’s a Jerusalem mix and knows how to high five and roll over. We rescued him. He does not make white dog poop from the 70’s, but I can have my Israeli husband sing that song to you. He has it memorized.

To hang out you can email here. Or tweet me @FelafelBalls

Can’t wait!

 


Jerusalem Seminars in June: using blogging and social media (Facebook, Digg, Friendfeed, etc.) for marketing

I’ve never really written about things related to my work here on the big felafel – but this seemed too important to pass up. I think there are a bunch of small businesses in Israel, especially in Jerusalem that are only slowly starting to realize, hey, why isn’t Janglo bringing in enough business? Make no mistake, I am no Janlgo critic, in fact, I’m as big an addict as they come in this part of the country. However, I’ve noticed that as I blog and become active in a whole slew of social networks, I’m finding out about opportunities, networking events, and connections that I probably wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise.

In short, I think plenty of Israeli co.s and non-profits could benefit from this upcoming 3-day seminar. If you think you know someone who would be interested, feel free to send them the info. To Register, click here.

Here is the agenda which I may or may not have helped out with: Continue reading this entry »