The Big Felafel


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! 

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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


The future of Israel according to the Israeli Presidential Conference 2012

The Israeli Presidential Conference “Facing Tomorrow” is an annual conference run by Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, which brings together some of the biggest names in politics, technology, and… sex therapy. The conference discusses what the future holds for the world, and specifically for Israel. At the age of 89, you gotta give Peres credit for still having game and putting on a great show. As Tony Blair, who spoke at the conference, said “I did the the math and it seems you were a minister (of Knesset) before I was even born!” and as Dennis Ross said “In 20-30 years, many of us won’t be around anymore, but you Shimon, will definitely still be here!”.

I feel honored and privileged to be able to attend such an extraordinary conference that has the potential to inspire the world and bring the Jewish people together, and therefore hesitate writing anything negative since I know first-hand how hard it is to organize a large event. Having said that, I would like to give you a real sneak peek as to what it’s like to be at the conference and what the future has to offer, for better or for worse.

Here is a preview of how the future would look, based on my experiences at the Israeli presidential conference:

  1. Hot, messy, long lines: For those of you familiar with Israel’s line culture (which is to say, a long, rich history of being… culture-less), you may not be surprised that we were thrown into a hot mosh-pit of a registration area with no clear division of lines and little air-conditioning on a sweltering summer day, so we just picked a spot to stand and hoped for the best. Oh, how we pined for those ropes at the airport to restore order but the only remnant of airport life here was the tight security and the little scarves that the registration ladies wore. I guess I had my hopes high for an orderly line experience being that this is the conference about the future of Israel.

    Lesson learned: The future of Israel may not contain enough ropes.

  2. Free wine and fancy bite-sized snacks: I am pleased to announce that the future of Israel will be overfloweth with half-full glasses of red and white wine, as well as adorable and tasty hoers d’ouerves such as, but not limited to: breadsticks with salmon, toasted bread with eggplant drizzled with honey, and my favorite, a vanilla ice cream with a chocolatey treasure at the bottom.

    Lesson learned: I think once you have some wine in your system and some small treats in your belly, you can start to relax and fully appreciate the world and strive for peace. Or at least come to terms with the hot mess of a line you just had to stand in (see #1).

  3. Chaos and confusion: Once we arrived and enjoyed sipping our wine and nibbling on spinach something-or-other, we tried to get into the plenary session featuring Shimon Peres, Henry Kissinger, and Tony Blair.
    But alas, you must have a ticket to enter the plenary session. A ticket? Even though you already have a badge and enjoyed some wine and are clearly “in”? Yes, you must still have a green paper ticket to enter the hall. Waaaaaah. Although crying didn’t work, divine intervention did. My friend spotted someone whispering “tickets.. does anyone want a ticket?”. “DID YOU SAY TICKETS?! YES!!” she screamed, and so we whisked ourselves up the 5 flights of stairs to the nosebleed section and sat down just as it began.

    So you may be thinking, obviously when we came the next day, we knew to get tickets to all the plenaries and never go through the confusion again and live happily ever after. But no! We only got tickets for the morning plenary session and got an unclear answer of whether or not tickets were needed for the afternoon plenary session. SIGH.
    Lesson learned:
    The future will be confusing. And ticket-based.

  4. Women relegated to the back of the bus, again: The conference deals with many social and economic Israeli issues, such as the tent protests and how to create a greener Israel.  The conference could have dealt head-on with some major women’s issues in Israeli society such as women literally sitting in the back of the bus. And, at the conference itself, less than 10% of the speakers were women.  I met a women from the NCJW who told me that statistic, so I hope she’s right.
    Lesson learned: The future will tiptoe around women’s issues.
  5. Sex is still alive and well: You will have more energy as you age then ever before – just look at Shimon Peres, Henry Kissinger, and Dr. Ruth. Dr. Ruth, a psychosexual therapist, age 83, once again dazzled the crowd with her frank discussion on the importance of relationships, sex, and family life in the era of new media.  She also managed to use her sexual references to compare the early exit of Israeli startups to premature ejaculation. Only Dr. Ruth could get away with making that comment on a stage in front of thousands of people, including many dignitaries, such as Peres and Kissinger.

    Dr. Ruth – not afraid to speak her dirty mind. (Photo courtesy of the Israeli Presidential Conference)

  6. Ayaan Hirsi Ali will hopefully run the world: What an incredible woman. Author of “The Infidel“, Ayaan Hirsi Ali has had a crazy life. Born into a Muslim family in Somalia, her family moved to Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia and Kenya. From Kenya, she escaped to The Netherlands and eventually became a member of Parliament. She spoke out freely against Islam and while working on a documentary film, “Submission”, her friend and producer, Theo Van Gogh, was murdered. Since then, she’s had to live under security watch to protect her against the many Muslims who want to silence her.

    After reading her book and being her biggest fan, I was honored to see Ayaan in person, knowing the huge effort and security risks she must have taken to come to Israel. Ayaan was on the panel “The Strategic Look at Tomorrow” amidst American and Israeli Jews. However, I think that while the other members of the panel were trying to create checklists of what needs to be done to achieve peace in the Middle East, it was only Ayaan who really told it like it is. She said that there are 3 main values that must change before there is going to be peace in the Middle East:

    1. Muslims’ belief in governments with absolute authority
    2. To compromise in the Muslim world is to lose face
    3. All answers can be found in the Koran

    Ayaan said that until those fundamental beliefs change in the Muslim world, there might never be peace in the region. She is the only one willing to say that the Israelis and Palestinians have fundamentally different views of peace and what the region should look like. Here is a fitting analogy I came up with: If I say I’m fat, that’s ok, but if you tell me I’m fat, that is totally not ok. Because Ayaan was born Muslim, she feels like she can say anything she wants and is less afraid of offending Muslims. So, in the future, when you ask “Who run the world?” the answer should be Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

    Even her initials spell AHA! (Photo courtesy of the Israeli Presidential Conference)

  7. Direct access to the President of Israel and other highly esteemed people: Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Shimon Peres, Natan Sharansky and Jimmy Wales with a group of Israeli bloggers. This year I had the chance to again be in a private blogger session with Shimon Peres as well as Yossi Vardi and Peter Bainert.
    Lesson learned: The future holds the promise that ordinary people like me can have access to leaders of the country.
     

    What close proximity!(Photo courtesy of the Israeli Presidential Conference)

    At the 2011 conference, I got to meet Jimmy Wales!

  8. Film, literary, and musical artists will be personal and lovable: I went to a session that hosted Etgar Keret, a great short story writer, Joseph Cedar, producer of Oscar-nominated films Beaufort and Footnote, and Achinoam Nini, a phenomenal singer.  Each of these artists opened up about how they grew up with complex identities and how being Israeli is really special to them and definitely plays a role in what they create.  I loved how down-to-earth each of them was and how approachable, and lovable each of them was. And Achinoam surprised us by singing just before the session ended.

    Best panel ever! Love you Joseph Cedar and Etgar Keret and almost had the courage to take a photo with you.

  9. Lots of business casual attire: After 3 days of wearing business casual in Israel, which is a big deal considering the casual dress culture, I believe the future will require you to dress up and look nice. As for the present, I’m just glad the conference was only 3 days since I ran out of fancy things to wear!
  10. Major FOMO: As Deena and Miriam pointed out, this conference relies heavily on FOMO(fear of missing out) to entice people to come. And even once you’re at the conference, there is still major FOMO since you can only attend one of the 4 or 5 sessions happening simultaneously. Obviously you’re going to think you picked the wrong session and then feel left out when everyone else has inside jokes about it later. If you think FOMO is something made up, I assure you that it is not and a whole FOMO science complete with statistics is starting to develop. Needless to say, the future will be full of FOMO.

I know this was a long post, so high five if you read it all, but it was a really long event so it’s only fitting. Once again, thank you (you know who you are) for letting me attend this conference and giving me some major food for thought as well as for my belly. Whether or not there will be peace in the region is debatable, but at least there will be hope for another fancy conference next year! 


How to watch Srugim Season 3

I just finished watching Srugim’s third season. The Jerusalem crew of Nati, Yifat, Amir, Hodaya, and Reut are back with another depressing yet must-watch season of Srugim. For all of you wondering if they brought Stacy, the Anglo, back on the show, they did not. But, the third season does indeed have a few English-accented Hebrew speakers.

I feel like I had to watch the show in case I run into any of the characters, I mean actors, on the street in Jerusalem. I really love that Jerusalem itself is practically a character on the show, and I love seeing it filmed in places I go all the time. I think my favorite part was when they go to Shilav, a baby store, in the Talpiot area of Jerusalem and they filmed the real sales guy who works there. I remember him from when I was searching for strollers!

If you need to catch up, you can watch Season 1 and Season 2  (the links may only work for people in Israel, not sure)

So, without further ado, click on the links below to see what happens in season three.


Tu B’av and the City: Day of Love events in Jerusalem 2011

Deena from HaBitza.com, a dating blog, sent me a great post about Tu B’Av events in Jerusalem. Enjoy!

Thank the mighty Lord, the mourning period of the three weeks, the nine days and the 9th of Av are behind us. It is such a cumbersome time for many of us and it’s always a relief when it’s over.

And now comes the fun part! This Sunday night (August 14, 2011) and Monday is Tu B’Av, the Jewish/Israeli day of love. Long ago it was the day on which single girls went out to the fields dressed in white and danced while the guys checked them out and tried to choose someone to marry. Today things are done a bit differently, though not by much. This year on Tu B’Av in Jerusalem there are sing-alongs, mega speed dating events and other parties around the city.

This post is an overview of some of the events going on around the city this coming Sunday and Monday. But actually, it is really just an excuse for me to tell you about the following event which I attended (and loved) last year:

באב TWO

Where: Beit Yehudit, 12 Emek Refaim, Jerusalem (aka ICCY/Merkaz Tarbut Amim Veno’ar)
When: 8:30 PM, August 14, 2011
Price: 55 NIS

True, the venue doesn’t seem to be able to choose a name for themselves but that doesn’t detract from their events. I attended this event last year and I can tell you that it is one of the most enjoyable events I’ve attended. There was so much going on, and in general there was a great vibe. This year will be similar in that you’ll get to enjoy a concert by a top Israeli musician (Eviatar Banai), eat and drink yummy things, watch love story movies by Maaleh students and sing and dance (so it seems). Read the brochure above for more information (about a lecture, a tish, a pasta workshop and more).

Tu B’Av Mass Speed Dating

Where: Tzidkiyahu’s Cave, Jerusalem (Below the walls of the Old City)
When: 8:00 PM, August 14, 2011 (I think – the flyer is sort of missing a date.)
Price: 25 NIS (90% discount)

Yeah, this is a pretty interesting one. Mass speed dating in a cave for singles ages 23-40?! They mention wine and romance and the next day you’ll get the contact info of anyone where there was mutual interest.

This is organized by a few organizations including Tzi’irim Lema’an Yerushalayim. Check them out on facebook. You can also email info@y-jerusalem.org for more information. There are buses from Binyanei Hauma in both directions.

Let me know if you end up braving it and going. I’d love to hear how it is! (Not sure I’m brave enough to go myself.:)

You must RSVP before.

Tu B’Av at HaGov

Where: HaGov Bar, 5 Yoel Moshe Salomon, Jerusalem
When: 9:00 PM, August 14, 2011
Price: A drink/food

There will be some really nice specials that night, including:

2-for-1 on passionfruit Margaritas! (Of course)
A Fun Joel Platter of finger food for a discounted 39 NIS. (Named after Joel who is behind this event.)
Two main courses and receive a free sweet dessert!
A bottle of sparkling red wine for a discounted 94 NIS.

Jerusalem Wine Festival

Yeah, I know this isn’t specifically a Tu B’Av event but it begins on Monday the 15th when it is still Tu B’Av and it’s also just an amazing event. So, I’m including it here. 🙂

There are also a bunch of other things going on. For example:

Love story tour of Hanvi’im Street and a sing-along in the courtyard of the museum of the Underground Prisoners (אסירי המחתרות). This is on Monday the 15th. (The event flyer)

BBQ, mingling and art program for singles ages 24-38 (Monday) venue to be announced to people who RSVP.

Tu B’Av JamFest – Ghetto Shul Style in Katamon

Tu B’Av Rooftop Kumzitz by the shuk

Know of anything else that should be on this list? Please email me so I can add it. habitza@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?


What July 4 means to Israelis: 35 years since the heroic rescue in Entebbe

In honor of the 35th anniversary of the heroic IDF rescue mission in Entebbe, Uganda, The Big Felafel received a moving guest post about Major General (Res.) Doron Almog (the “first man on the scene” in Entebbe) in which he reflects on the historic raid and highlights the importance of standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Entebbe’s Message 35 Years Later: Leave No Man Behind
By Doron Almog

Thirty-five years ago today (July 4, 1976), an Air France flight was hijacked and diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. Shortly after landing, all of the non-Jewish passengers were released and the remaining Jewish passengers were held hostage. One week after the hijacking, I commanded the first task force to land in Entebbe as part of a daring mission that freed 105 hostages.

Faced with immense challenges, we pulled off a thrilling (yet bittersweet) victory. At the time, we saw the feat as an illustration of the strength and vitality of the Israeli army and the Jewish spirit.  Upon reflection (so many years later), it is clear that it also highlighted the importance of standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

It should be noted that my participation in Entebbe was voluntary. After my brother, Eran, was killed in the Yom Kippur war (he was injured in the Golan Heights and bled to death after sitting untreated for seven days), I was given the choice of leaving my combat unit as a bereaved soldier.  However, I chose to remain in the military in order to change the ethos of the IDF and make absolutely sure that no soldier would ever be left behind again.

It was this philosophy that drove me to participate in the Entebbe raid and numerous other military operations throughout my career and, ultimately, set the stage for the next phase of my adult life.

After our son was born – and we named him Eran after my late brother – he was diagnosed with severe physical and cognitive disabilities.  In an instant, my world was turned upside down. At first, I had a very hard time coming to terms with the fact that my beloved son would never speak or hold down a job, and would always be dependent on others to provide his every need.  But my “no man left behind” philosophy prevailed, and I found the strength to be the father that Eran needed me to be.

In fact, my time with Eran allowed me to develop my philosophy even further, and I became committed to changing the way society views the disabled.  I realized that it is not enough to make sure that these wonderful children don’t get left behind.  We must ensure that they are given every opportunity to excel and reach their greatest potentials.

For the Entebbe raid, our IDF battalions travelled 2,500 miles to fight for those who could not fight for themselves.  It is time for us to harness that bravery, resolve and dedication to our fellow men, to turn our sights inward and focus on the urgent rescue missions in our own neighborhoods. These “hostages” are in very real danger every day of their lives and are often abandoned. They are the weakest members of our society and are completely dependent on the kindness of others. We don’t need to launch a complex tactical mission to set them free.  We simply need to wrap them in love and help them integrate into our social fabric.

Make no mistake: our commitment to care for the disabled members of society remains immeasurably more difficult than any military campaign I have ever led. But we must stand up and fight to provide them with the care that they deserve. Because, in the end, our generation will be judged by how well we complete this mission.

 

Major General (Res.) Doron Almog is the founder and Chairman of Aleh Negev – Nahalat Eran, a village named in memory of his son, that provides a continuum of residential care for children with severe disabilities as they grow from adolescents into young adults. Learn more about Aleh at www.aleh.org.

 


Jerusalem Day Special: HaTikva’s scandalous past and its relevance today

In honor of Jerusalem Day, The Big Felafel received an excellent guest post about HaTikva, Israel’s national anthem.

The Impossible Dream
By Ariella Gottesman

Many years ago, I heard a speaker – a self-proclaimed Zionist – taking HaTikvah to task. In her opinion, it didn’t speak to the Zionist dream, the true feeling of the Jewish heart aching to return home, or the mission of Zionism. She suggested that The Impossible Dream from the hit Broadway musical “The Man of La Mancha” take its place as the Israeli national anthem. The very words, she thought, encapsulated everything Zionism and Israel stands for:

To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe,

To bear with unbearable sorrow,

To run where the brave dare not go…

I was quite taken with this idea as a child, with the notion that this stirring song about reaching “the unreachable star” could serve as a more fitting national anthem for our homeland. I took out the CD from the library and listened to the song countless times, smiling as I internalized the lyrics. It struck a chord within me, far deeper than HaTikvah ever had.

So, why shouldn’t this song represent the Zionist dream? What does HaTikvah really have over The Impossible Dream?

Recently, I hit the books (and the Internet) to figure it all out.  What I discovered was fascinating.

Similar to The Star Spangled Banner, which is actually a four paragraph poem with only the first verse known, HaTikvah has seven other stanzas, which nobody knows.

HaTikvah was originally a nine stanza poem written by Naphtali Herz Imber, a relatively unsuccessful poet, loafer, and womanizer who lived in the late nineteenth century. The original title was actually TikvateinuOur Hope – and it was the anthem of several settlements in the 1880s. Imber later died of alcohol induced liver disease, a glorious way for the writer of Israel’s national anthem to pass.

Samuel Cohen later put these rhymes to a Romanian folk song, Carul cu Boi. Though he slowed down the rhythm and refined the sound, when one listens to Carul cu Boi, it is clear that the two songs are related. The tune that makes Jews worldwide rise and put their hands to their hearts means, in Romanian, “Cart and Oxen,” and the original is a dancing tune.

The more I uncovered in my research, the more the case was made for The Impossible Dream to take center stage.

Yet, HaTikvah, with its interesting, and perhaps scandalous, past, still has a unique quality that The Impossible Dream cannot and never will have. This quality fills the heart of the Jew. It makes us smile, it makes us cry, it defines us, and it makes HaTikvah our national anthem.

On May 12, 1948, before David Ben-Gurion read the Israeli Declaration of Independence, the audience spontaneously sang HaTikvah in unison. After the Declaration was signed, the crowd once again rose and sang:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

No one in that room, or anywhere in that newly born country, would have envisioned owning all of Jerusalem. Not under the White Paper, nor under the UNSCOP Partition Plan, nor by any other conceivable course of events. At best, they thought, it would wind up under UN jurisdiction. At worst, it would fall into the hands of the Arabs, who would in all likelihood deny Jews access. Indeed, by the end of the 1948 war, when the smoke had cleared, Jerusalem was still not under Israeli control.

Yet, Jews still dreamed of Jerusalem. Their eyes still looked towards Zion. The city where David camped was still in their hearts. And, in 1967, against all odds, we claimed our birthright.

The Impossible Dream is a wonderful song. I smile and cry every time I listen to it. But it does not focus on Jerusalem.  As such, it cannot possibly represent the Zionist dream because it is impossible to fulfill the Zionist dream without our Golden Jerusalem.

Ariella Gottesman is an undergraduate student at Stern College for Women and the president of the Yeshiva University Israel Club.

 


116 useful updates about living in Israel you may have missed

Here are some useful updates about living in Israel that I’ve tweeted or put on Facebook in the last 2 months. And now that I’m posting the links here, I’m not limited by the Twitter 140 character limit and can sit in the peanut (Bamba?) gallery and offer additional commentary! For more Israel-related real-time updates, you can follow The Big Felafel on TwitterFacebook, or by blog updates via email.

  1. Watching Am Segula – Mah Kashur’s new comedy series. Verrry similar to their previous series, Yisraelim. Well, it is the same guys, so it makes sense.
  2. Join the Koby Mandell Foundation FB page and double your chances of winning 2 free tix to @comedyforkoby.
  3. Site-specific art installations by Bezalel students transform downtown Jerusalem’s bars Oh bars. I think those days are pretty much over for me or is it cool to bring a 7 month old with?
  4. Festivals and More Festivals in Jerusalem (via @janglo) I think Israel has set a world record for most amount of festivals per capita or per season or however it is that we measure festival records.
  5. Contest for Design of New Banknotes in Israel. Weird set of qualifications: graphic design AND certified bookkeeper. Good luck with that, State O’Israel.
  6. Israeli family names their baby “Like” There was also an Egyptian family who named their baby Facebook. And they say we can’t get along with our neighbors. We have weird names in common. Isn’t that enough?
  7. Fox pulls Israeli sitcom Traffic Light after 13 episodes Ramzor, the Hebrew version, was such an Israeli-type show, I was wondering how that would work out. I guess it didn’t.
  8. ISRAEL21c invited to global cancer fellowship Impressive.
  9. Intern in Israel program gets boost from U.S. firms I went to this Masa event and met some awesome recruiters from Urban Outfitters, Citibank and other big names. Great job Masa for really putting in lots of effort to run successful internship programs in Israel
  10. Love the @benjilovitt 63 Reasons why I love Israel As usual, Benji outdoes himself with his Israel love.
  11. Ayalim, a nonprofit in the Negev and Galil building sustainable student housing village. Inspiring for Yom Ha’atzmaut
  12. New Yom Ha’atzmaut video by Aish. How many people do you recognize? I counted 2.
  13. Huge Naked Art installation to be in the Dead Sea or Mea Shearim. Hope no one gets angry…
  14. Way off track / Fast train to Jerusalem will have to wait Originally, the Tel Aviv – Jerusalem fast train was planned to be finished by 2017. But since that seems too close.. they’ve now postponed it until two thousand and never. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts, right?
  15. Anglodeals Amazing! All the daily group deal sites in English!
  16. J’lem haredim find gentile hametz buyer has taken it! Hilarious! Bet you never thought someone would actually come and get your chametz.
  17. ‎@hebrewU and eTeacher Group Offer Aramaic Language via Online Program (via @religion_state) I totally think there should be Aramaic Ulpan. Sign me up.
  18. New Noise Laws in Israel (via @ahoova) No more loud car alarms. Huh? Isn’t that the point of car alarms.
  19. New Jerusalem Culture site launched (on Drupal.. in case you’re as nerdy as I am and wanted to check) Good source for upcoming cultural events like the Light Festival and Opera Festival and even the Festival Festival. Bet you never heard of that one.
  20. Funny shorts about Pini, an Israeli living in London Really short episodes which is great for someone with a short attention span like me. I just watched all of them straight through. The series is in English and Hebrew and could be a good ulpan tool – just read the subtitles the whole time.
  21. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to visit Rabbi Lau in Israel What a crazy story. Turns out that Kareem’s father was in the army during WWII and liberated Rabbi Lau. Why do I keep thinking about the movie Airplane?
  22. Gevalt! Israel launches a cellphone in Yiddish Reminds me of my college days and my semester of Yiddish. Now I see where that knowledge could be useful again!
  23. Oldie but a goodie Matzah Ball Rap A great Passover video that doesn’t get old. And it stars my old kitchen… and friends!
  24. Answers.com being sold for $127 million Wow. Kol Hakavod. Answers.com is such a great part of the local Jerusalem community, sponsoring events, hiring Israelis, etc.
  25. Hilarious report on the English spoken by service providers in Israel (thanks @felafelballs) Reads like a comedy script for a sketch by… hahafuch (Jerusalem’s comedy troupe)
  26. Artists coming to perform in Israel 2011 featuring Megadeath, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias via @igoogledisrael.com
  27. Vanessa Mae is coming to perform in Israel via @igoogledisrael.com
  28. In Latest Discovery, Have They Found the Nails Used to Crucify Jesus?
  29. ‎50 things to do in Jerusalem this spring – GoJerusalem.com
  30. ‘Amazing Israel Race’ Kicks Off in Boston. It’s not happening in Israel, but such a great idea, I wish they would do something like that in Israel.
  31. In Israel, a check of supermarkets shows consumers should stick to stores they find most convenient, and leave paltry price differences behind.(via Haaretz)
  32. Al Gore invests $10m. in Israeli solar energy projects Israeli solar on a roll! First Google then Al Gore!
  33. Google invests $168m in Brightsource solar project – Globes
  34. Bieber visits the Western Wall
  35. iPhone app by @rustybrick gets rid of chametz (via @janglo)
  36. Four Israeli divas serenade traffic from atop Jerusalem bridge via Haaretz
  37. Justin Bieber performs tonight in Tel Aviv. Won’t get to meet Bibi.I was so hoping that Bibi would meet with Bieber. But what would they talk about?
  38. Donald Trump sues Israeli co selling “Trump Vodka” – Globes I’m so surprised this is the only Israeli counterfeit being caught. What about stores in Israel that are called Best Buy and Versace that have no connection to the real brands?
  39. Israeli App Testing Company Turns From Google And Microsoft To Startups (via @NoCamels)
  40. New Glasses from $6.95! – Janglo (link no longer available)
  41. Payless ShoeSource arrives in Israel Petach Tikva and Beer Sheva. avg price for shoes: 100 NIS (via @janglo)
  42. ‎5 day program in Jerusalem this summer to help residents improve their neighborhoods and green the city
  43. Tel Aviv University @telavivuniv Computer Project Funded By Google featured on @mashable!
  44. Regional C’ttee approves Jerusalem’s Cinema City – Globes
  45. Really? Tel Aviv ranked Israel’s greenest city – Globes
  46. Ophir Tours offers $95,000 space trips – Globes
  47. Such a nice video about Shir Hadash! Feat. Rabbi Pear
  48. The Bezalel Art Fair now happening every Friday from 9am – 3pm
  49. Mirs and Xfone win wireless tender (Source:Globes). New cellphone numbers will be 058 and 053 (Source: israel Hayom)
  50. Cellular competition starts today for 2 new providers in Israel Reminds me to watch this video again
  51. VIDEO: “Ya’alili” by 8th Day: The official music video (via @janglo)
  52. Google Exodus – very cute Passover video from Aish.
  53. Jon Stewart’s Hilarious Eruv Video
     


    So funny! The Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac goes to Long Island to investigate the Eruv controversy and finds a solution by creating the Eruv hat! Love! Continue reading this entry »


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 »