Ethnic Culinary Tour of Mahaneh Yehudah
Come take your taste buds for a ride with the best of ethnic Judaic dishes and delights hailing from all over the Jewish diaspora, scattered oddly together throughout Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehudah outdoor market. Iraqi, Georgian, Ethiopian, Lebanese, Ashkenazi, Yemenite and more, we'll stuff our faces with food, sweets, and even homebrewed medicines. You are going to be spoiled! Come hungry.
The ruins of King David's ancient capital actually lie outside the beautiful stone walls that mark today's Old City. Come with me and dive deep down underground through secret tunnels (some filled with water, so bring water shoes and flashlights!), and nearby archaeological excavations where we will discuss the history of the First and Second Temple and make our way up through a 2000 year old drainage system up to the very corner of Temple Mount.
Back-Alleys of Jerusalem's Old City
This tour is a mix of uncovering history, meeting locals and tickling our taste buds! We will make our way through the back alleys of the Muslim and Christian quarters, speaking all the while about holy sites and religious sects. All this while visiting fabric and spice merchants, and introducing our tongues to the best snacks the Middle East has to offer: fresh hot hummus, tehini straight from the grindstone, sweet knafeh, strong Turkish coffee and more.
Europe in Jerusalem
This tour is a walk-and-talk, roam-and-ramble, see-and-speak for the curious, covering the myriad social, political, ethnic and economical pressures that left their mark on the neighborhoods of New Jerusalem outside the city walls. We'll visit the Russian Compound, an Ethiopian church, the British Military HQ that operated out of the famous King David hotel (which is why Menahem Begin bombed it), Montefiore's Windmill, the French district and more.
Ultra-Orthodox Bakery Tour
Why do the Ultra-Orthodox dress the way they do? How can you tell the sects apart and why don't they serve in the IDF? Come and explore the clash of insular religious judaism with modern political zionism, from dress code to national defense. Our conversation will fill the time it take to hop from bakery to bakery around this Ultra-Orthodox part of town, with mouths full of hallah and cakes for shabbes. This tour can also be combined with a guided, hands-on hallah make-and-bake.
Ancient Jaffa to Modern Day Tel Aviv
We'll visit the ancient port city of Jaffa and discuss the various empires who vied to control it over its 4000 year history. Why was Jaffa of such strategic importance? Why is it a holy site to Christians to this day? From Jaffa we'll wend our way through the artisan neighborhood of Neveh Tzedek towards Independence Hall, where Ben Gurion anounced Israel's independence in 1948, 39 years after the city was founded on nothing but sand dunes.
Tel Aviv's Hidden Markets
Shop three markets in one tour - food, fashion, and antiques! Ranked officially as a top foodie capital, we'll start in the city's chef-worthy food and spice market. Tongues tickled, we'll stroll along to the famous jaffa-side flea market stopping on the way to sample Ottoman flavors and enjoy uber-trendy fashionista shops.
Jesus of Jerusalem
Follow me from the Mount of Olives down to the Via Dolorosa to the Holy Sepulchre, stopping at real archaeological sites all along the way to discuss the early history of Christianity and the Church. We will focus on the historical events, and talk about unity and division, christology and heresy over 2000 years of Christianity and Christendom.
From Cholent to Beer, Night Life in the Capital
On most nights, this is a ramble through the very different nightlife scenes of the city, from Ultra-Orthodox cholent-in-a-bowl hangouts to the best of the modern city's barscape and foodie culture. If you choose to go on this tour on Friday night (Sabbath eve) we focus more on the spirit of the Sabbath, ending at a real hassidic "Tish", a spiritual, mystical shindig, replete with singing and dancing on bleachers, while tasting traditional Sabbath soul foods: wine, kugel and hallah.
The fact is that most of my tours are custom, like when I co-hosted Globe Trekker with Zay Harding (click the pic above to watch the segment). Sometimes it's an occassion like a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, where we visit a Tefillin factory and a Tallith shop and perform deeds of significance together. Others have been interested in the seedier side of the Holy City's history, where we explore historical scandals, traitors, spies, and prostitutes. Local vinters, local brewers, local everything, that's my specialty. Write me on firstname.lastname@example.org and find out more. I always write back.